Starting out “The Pieces We Keep” with some of the most tight playing I’ve heard on a disc recently, we are assaulted by sizzling guitar licks. Covering the same type of topics that numerous bands have covered for years, A Small Victory still yet tears down the paradigm of the post-punk or “emo” band to resurrect it on their own terms. Mark’s vocals roll out on the disc like the sweetest poetry, “If I had it all / Every breath of your whispers good night / I would trade it all for the wind to sting our bloodshot eyes [Hammer Strong],” while Luke, Danny, and John come it at the key points when one voice just wont do. Recalling the most solid moments of the All-American Rejects, Taking Back Sunday, Rufio, and fellow labelmates Park, A Small Victory creates little nuggets of post-punk perfection, perfect for dissection on Mtv or radio. “Their Lovers Fall” is another piece of the puzzle for A Small Victory, using some interesting time signatures, tempo changes, and what even sounds to be an uncredited synthesizer.
Starting out “My Sweet Explosion” with the utmost fuck-off line, “Last night with you was like waking with my wrists open”, A Small Victory still uses the Helloween-lite style of lead guitar with the bass, being ever-emotive, acting as another facet of Mark’s voice. While “Taste the Mercury” teeters on the line of innovation and mediocrity, furthering the rest of the disc, but not bringing much new into the mix, A Small Victory regroups for the final track, perennial mp3.com emo top track “When Hearts Were Gold”. “When Hearts Were Gold” uses a fast, punchy type of rhythm guitar with the same type of start-stop tempo change and multipart harmony that A Small Victory has just got down.
This Georgia band had a lot to prove on their first EP, and I believe that they have stepped up to the plate and batted a home run with “The Pieces We Keep”. The high-water mark of the CD is the ending chorus, for “The Pieces We Keep”, “I’ve been doing some thinking. I’m sick of hearing my favorite songs play on your stereo.” To give the final finger to the off-stage significant other, A Small Victory has the disc end thematically the only way it could – with a tape slow-down and burn away to nothing. While these 6 songs still play as fresh from beginning to end as possible, I really want to know if A Small Victory has what it takes to keep their sound fresh over 45, instead of 20 minutes.
Rating : 7.5/10
Top Track : The Pieces We Keep
A Small Victory – The Pieces We Keep / 2003 Lobster Records / 6 Tracks / http://www.asmallvictory.com / http://www.lobsterrecords.com / Released 04 November 2003 / Reviewed 03 December 2003