In terms of pure aesthetics, Small Reactions have always maintained a certain level of noisy lo-fi grit that would probably earn a nod of approval from Calvin Johnson. There isn’t much about the group’s noisy pop that I would consider twee, but if a major part of Beat Happening’s legacy was carving a more heady, effeminate, and playful space within punk rock, then consider Small Reactions among the fortunate recipients of that crucial bit of indie underground brinkmanship.
Tomorrow, the Atlanta foursome will unveil their latest EP, Notorious, and to help them celebrate we’re stoked to bring you the premiere of their cover of Beat Happening’s shimmery, yearnful “Indian Summer.” As renditions go, this one is fairly faithful to the original, at least in its earliest stages. The group successfully navigates the track’s odd tension between the promise of youth and renewal and the burden of nostalgia, leading the listener into a kind of plaintive march that’s nonetheless warm and inviting. Only towards the end, when Small Reactions ratchet up the noise and allow the song to dissolve into a clamorous squall of fuzz and feedback, does the band assume the reigns and make the track their own. It’s a careful balance, but a solid one, and clear evidence that the band can embrace restraint as well as tumult when the situation demands.
The Notorious EP is out February 24 on cassette and digital via Bear Kids Recordings. Pre-orders are available here.
Small Reactions will celebrate the release of Notorious tonight at the Earl. They will be supported by Fake Flowers and Art School Jocks. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $8. 21+ to enter.