There’s a rush that comes with finding out your friends are in good bands. First off, it’s always great to hear some sweet music. Also it rules when you can tell your friends they’re good at something and not have to lie about it. But it also promotes a conversation between friends and, for me at least, strengthens bonds. Most of my friends have been in bands. It’s just what we do. So it’s with relief and excitement and homoerotic fervor that I must write that Small Bones, the latest in a long line of punk bands from my friend/La Salle all-star Drew Stephan, is good.
The group’s self-titled full-length is of the thrashy, mildly folksy, certainly bicycle-loving punx variety. It should appeal to fans of Shorebirds, RVIVR, Cutman… anything hoarse and loose and fun. These tunes are generally in the 90 to 120 second range, with very little filler. The lone exception is the comparatively epic, partially a cappella ditty “Cold War Storage,” and that’s still only three minutes long. Fans of Drew Stephan should also be pleased. Dude is the finest of lovers, smooth yet strong. Bold yet sweet. He is the penultimate barbeque sauce/beer/man. He’s an OK drummer. I don’t know the guitarists, but they get nice, dissonant sounds out of their instruments. Vocalist Breonne DeDecker probably drinks a ton of tea to soothe her savaged throat. She’s pretty much what I wish more hardcore/punk singers sounded like, an antidote to all the Cookie Monster impersonators.
Lyrically, the band is kind of awesome. They cover well-worn sociopolitical territory (boo-urns to gentrification and/or The Man!). They write about living in the city. But they put little spins on things. Excellent closer “Minor Street Repairs and Dinosaurs: A Comprehensive Recovery Strategy,” for example, suggests opening a