Arts, Music, On Campus

‘Us Kids’ Is A Bold, Psychedelic Step Ahead For Small Talk

It’s hard to believe that Small Talk’s debut EP Us Kids was recorded in Lyons Hall. The production quality is jarringly impressive, from the resonant and reverbed guitar chords of opening track “Retrogradient” to the churchlike synth organs and vocal harmonies of “Song For Tulips.” But for anyone who followed Small Talk’s original run as Seaver’s Express—the indie-rock band fronted by brothers Sean and Brian Seaver—which ended with Brian’s departure in December, the most surprising part of the EP is how quickly the band completely reinvented itself. Us Kids constitutes more than a shift in band members and a change in name. Small Talk has traded the indie-rock, Strokes-tinged sound of days past for an exploratory, highly produced collection of psychedelic grooves. And it’s a complete success—a bold and exciting statement of things to come.

The second track, “Brothers,” hints at the hard choices the Seaver brothers had to make, as Seaver sings, “I am so sorry you could not stay.” Brian’s absence is most felt in the vocals—one gets the sense that Sean is still getting a feel for filling in the front man spot. But the instrumentals, from all members, are fluid, and Seaver’s expertise in production takes over on the EP. The new songs have a Pink Floydian ambition in their trippy, yet laid back grooves. It’s more Tame Impala than The Strokes. There is a fascination for loops and samples (the vocal samples at the beginning of “Retrogradient”) and  found sound recordings (the siren on “Us Kids”). Every song is well layered and carefully considered, from the deep drums to the scattered synth and piano lines. Us Kids provides a snapshot of the BC musicians’ abilities to create high quality music right here on campus, and it’s a beautiful snapshot indeed.

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Featured Image Courtesy of Cam Boylan

April 16, 2015