To say that Small Arms Dealer is eclectic is to only give a fraction of the picture. There are so many different styles and influences that make themselves known during the band’s opening track on “A Single Unifying Theory” that individuals are just as unsure about where the band is going to take them as they were before even putting on the disc.
To their credit, Small Arms Dealer mix together Face To Face, Rise Against, Armor For Sleep and even a hint of White Lion to come up with something that is essentially their own sound. The band coalesces their sound considerably during “Pagansong”, with a scratchy set of vocals reaching barely above the instrumental soup; the track shows a heavily emotional band that was not shown as such during the opening track. The interplay between the chunky bass and the shrill guitar work is perhaps the spark that gets the fire stoked to its highest point; this is a single if I’ve ever heard one. “The Small Arms Psalms Dealer Suite” really brings the things that mark Small Arms Dealer’s sound – a loud bass, an intense sound, and a complex sound – to the forefront, coupling that with a radio-friendly set of vocals that are convincing enough to conceivably get them a space on mTV or the like.
The activist drumming during “Tonight On A Very Special Episode” may seem to some to be the pinnacle of unprofessionality, but the almost off-time slapping of the skins gives an added emphasis to a specific part of the song. Where the medieval-sounding “My Headlocks are (Crazy)” seem almost fitting for Jethro Tull instead of a band like Small Arms Dealer, the song can be contextualized in the sense that it brings so much emotional contend to the table and there is a very tangible sense of brooding that is bound to affect all who listen in. With some of the most interesting music this year, there is little doubt that Small Arms Dealer will be on the lips of all in the know music fans. The fact that songs like “Perpendicular Cross-Talk” can start out in a very Queens of the Stone Age-mode before moving in the At The Drive-In sound that Small Arms Dealer find themselves most comfortable in shows that genres are liquid and only capable bands can mesh together so many disparate sounds without having the final result sound disjointed.
Top Tracks: Perpendicular Cross-Talk, Pagansong