Atlanta, GA. has always been rife with music, regardless of the genre but the rallying cry of indie rock always shouts out louder than most. One group that has emerged out of the Peach State in the last 7 years is Small Reactions, a quartet that relies heavily on the use of its guitar, bass, vintage organs, and drums instrumentation. As it should be. The group is set to release its third full-length, New Age Soul (SofaBurn Records) on July 2nd. The album follows up 2017’s Rxn-002, a loud, raucous affair that never relinquished swirling vocal melodies that rode crescent guitar notes.
While the band continues to ride the melodies its found comfort in, there is change within. In anticipation of the group’s New Age Soul, “Speak And Dress,” is shared and it delivers a wide array of sound not easily forgotten. Swirls of chiming guitars are wrapped around the melodies as the band’s pop sensibilities get the better of them, yet we’re all the ones that are the better for it.
Sean Zearfoss (drummer of Small Reactions): “Speak and Dress” was the second song we recorded for our new album that we ended up keeping. It was recorded the same day as the title track, “New Age Soul”, so we’ve always envisioned the songs as compliments to one another, cut from the same cloth. It was tracked on December 30th, 2018 — so it seems to exist in a space between, or on the verge of, something new. We called the record ‘New Age Soul’ because it centers around themes of change, rebirth, and shifts both planned and unplanned. The opening line to the song is “I was a child of planets and stars, I hardly kept my head / Drawn to millions and millions so far, away from me here in my bed.” At its core, the song is about being a New Age Soul. When we returned to mix the song to finish the record, we experimented with more instruments and sounds to push the song a little further off-center. First, we wanted the song to sound like Bowie does on ‘Scary Monsters’, so we got our friend Eric Balint to put some percussion on the track. His stuff sounded so excellent that he ended up all over the album. Next, it needed to be weirder because safe is never what Small Reactions aims for. Scotty put those voice key parts on the song. Initially I hated them, but they grew on me to the point where they’re probably my favorite thing on the album. Even if I hated them, though, I’d probably still want to keep them. Art should always elicit a reaction. In that way, loving and hating a piece achieves the same ultimate effect: it moves you. I’m not necessarily claiming the voice keys are going to move you, but they might make you mad. Just think of them as an updated “Bigmouth Strikes Again” or something, but without the future baggage.