It’s here! Some of you may recall a review I did of a great new single that had some wonderfully old flair from the Atlanta-based nerve pop band Small Reactions. The single was ‘Sessions Street‘. And while in the interim between lead single and album I missed the boat on reviewing their second single release ‘Sliding Glass Nightmare‘, I’m now here to review the entirety of their brand new album ‘RXN_002‘!
I must say, as I did when reviewing ‘Sessions Street‘, that Small Reactions has really got a great ability to take musical elements of old, shine them up, and make them brand new in a very interesting way. Ok, I didn’t say it exactly in that way, but you get the point. There is a great ambient, airy, synthetic, sort of shoegaze quality to this album, but with a twist of relatively clear vocals, effective harmonies, and an intense amount of stress rock. I guess that’s where the sub genre of nerve pop comes from. Who knows? I can never really keep track of all the genres. All I know is the music; I don’t ultimately care about the label put on it.
Because, if you label a certain type of music one thing, then when a track like ‘Alles‘ happens, you wonder how you fit this 60′s ambient folk rock into the same genre as the rest of the stress-rocking tunes. I’m reminded of The Hollies and The Byrds. And neither of these bands were in any way nerve pop bands. I think it’s a testament to the aforementioned ability of Small Reactions to pull from the wide world of music and make a wonderful piece of art from all the pieces they’ve amassed that they get away with this.
What I find very interesting about the composition of this album is that it absolutely keeps some form of tension in all of the tracks leading up to ‘Alles‘. Even when it comes to the slower, slightly sinister, and almost creepy ‘Flagrant‘. There is always a consistent build. Again, this is what I would tend to call stress rock, but nerve pop certainly captures the idea of what you’re getting on this album. If you want something to work yourself up with, I would definitely recommend this ‘RXN_002‘.
Nearly everything about this album has a nervous energy to it. mid-song you will often come across tempo changes, and continual hills and valleys from light and airy to heavy and…well, airy. And as noisy and seemingly messy as the climaxes can seem to be (no innuendo intended), there is a method to each, individual element of each track, including the almost dissonant changes throughout. I have to admit that I think some of the transitions from track to track are lacking some flow though. From the opening titular track ‘RXN_002‘ into lead single ‘Sessions Street‘, for example, there is an incredibly abrupt jump. Now given the stacked tension through the rest of the album there is every reason why this could be wholly done on purpose, but I have an inkling that it may not have been.
Either way, the whole stressfully ambient journey that is ‘RXN_002‘ is a thrill ride, with very little time to relax. If you want an album that keeps you on your toes, then definitely check this rockin’ album out right HERE!