It's been 8 years since Small Brown Bike released their last full length, The River Bed, but they haven't lost their touch in the slightest. The band's back, and it's almost as if they never stopped writing together. Fell & Found follows the thread left dangling from The River Bed and even expands upon it.
They open the record with “Onward & Overboard”--a song that could easily reflect what brought this band back together with lines like, “Reunion, more than just a word—a place to call our home. We need this.”. Their musicianship is perfect and beautifully executed. Once again, producer, J Robbins does an excellent job having everything boom with subtle highlights at each different moments. They pick up the pace a bit on the following catchy track, “Rescue Mission,” before a darker tone creeps up on the title track, “Fell & Found (The Walk).” The track's a perfect blend of post-hardcore with indie-rock. Mike Reed shares vocal duties with Travis Dopp this time around and they compliment each other exquisitely. The indie-rock influence leads us into the slow, dismal number, “In Need of Everything.” Their post-hardcore sound kicks back in as they launch into, “As We Go” with Dan Jaquint's lightning fast snare and Ben Reed's wonderful bass tone.
The midway point of the album, “A Minor Movement,” feels a bit more reminiscent of older Small Brown Bike to me, but with the clean vocals as opposed to Reed's gruff vocals. “Sleep River Sleep” has one of the weaker verses but it's backed with one of my favorite choruses on Fell & Found, so it evens out. The following track, “On Repeat,” is a bit poppier than the rest of the record. While it's not a bad track, it's unfortunately one I tend to skip, along with its successor, “You Always Knew Me.” Travis Dopp takes over the lead vocals on “Just Bones” which you could say is Small Brown Bike's idea of an elegant composition. It features a piano lead from Jaquint during the verse and the band's hard hitting sound during the chorus. The quartet closes Fell & Found with “All of Us.” The song feels about a minute too long. It's mostly a slow, but captivating, number that drags on at times. However, they play the album off with a powerful outro.
Small Brown Bike have returned and proven there's a place for them amongst bands like Bridge and Tunnel or Young Livers. Although Fell & Found loses some of its steam towards the end, it's still a great album after 8 years. Not to mention the production is spot on. It'll be interesting to see the path the band follows from here.
8.0 / 10
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