I once spent a month sleeping in a cramped, musty basement that doubled as a practice space for Small Towns Burn a Little Slower. They practiced three nights a week from 7 to 9 busting out what would eventually lead to the songs that make up the majority of Mortality as Home Entertainment. I couldn't stand living in the same basement where my CDs and mattress shared space with amps and a drum set, so I hastily departed but promised Small Towns Burn a Little Slower that they had a friend for life and an occasional roadie in exchange for a spot on the guest list.
I was introduced to Small Towns Burn a Little Slower when one of the band's guitarists, Tommy, gave me a copy of their first EP, which I enjoyed thoroughly. However, I was never a fan of the crowd they attracted. Today's emo scene is laughable slap in the face of the emo scene of 90's. Sweaty basement shows have been replaced by Warped Tour slots. Its sincerity is long gone; replaced by hitting on Myspace sluts from city to city instead of just having a chance to be heard. Also replaced is the raw emotion of the lyrics, in their place are generic clich's about razorblades and bloody angel wings. It's hard to find a band in the genre these days that doesn't make me want punch them in their collective pierced lips.
Small Towns Burn a Little Slower has a vantage over most of today's emo acts because quite honestly they are older than most of their peers. The band casts a bright shiny happy light into a dismal trend based, self-centered emo scene. Their music is a harkening back to the old days of emo's past. As I listen to Mortality as Home Entertainment I am reminded more of the great hooks and melodies of Seaweed and Samiam rather than mundane riffs of My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy. Small Towns Burn a Little Slower remembers you can still be powerful without screaming and you can still rock without trying to be Night Ranger.
Mortality as Home Entertainment, however, is not without its flaws and miscues. First off, what 3rd Grader did they get to spell-check the lyrics and manage the layout? Minnesota Twins' hero and broadcaster, Burt Blyleven name is butchered with the misspelling of track ten, "1970 Burt Blileven Rookie Card". That's not even the end of the errors that could have easily been corrected with a simple run through spell-check. Seriously, if you are going to have your CD showing up on the shelves of Best Buys and Hot Topics across the nation you might want to scan over the lyrics sheet before you send it off the presses. The general layout irks me as well; it looks like the every other modern "emo" record out there. I couldn't tell Mortality as Home Entertainment's cover apart from Emery's or I Can Mess Like Nobody Else Business's from fifty feet away. However whatever sells it to the kids, right?
Small Towns Burn a Little Slower has thrown their proverbial hat into the over-populated emo pool and thankfully bring forth a catchy record filled that has more hooks than I Know What You Did Last Summer parts I-X and are catchier than a cold caught in a damp basement/practice space. If you listen to Mortality as Home Entertainment once I swear you will be humming a good number of the songs by day's end. This is a memorable and easily digestible emo pop record done by folks that have been around the block a few times. Small Towns Burn a Little Slower rock out for a fan base half their age and leave most their peers in the dust with superb musicianship and being a good band. If you have any room in your collection for a catchy emo band that won't make feel dirty and unclean than you should probably own this. If not at least buy it for a younger sibling so they can get a start in the right direction of decent music.
7.5 / 10
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Posted Jan. 21, 2007, 3:40 p.m.
Small Towns Burn a Little Slower have posted a new demo track entitled "Con Artist" online here. The band released Mortality as Home Entertainment in 2005 via Triple Crown Records.
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