Little A – Scene

Little A

Sometimes local bands like this drive me crazy. They receive all of these vaunted accolades from local papers and some tiny indie rags. These publications say things like “A voyeuristic peep into the crawlspace of sheer brilliance” about a grating, mediocre rock song like “Down.” You see, Little A aren’t really a “local” band for me. They’re from Boston. I’m from Detroit. I simply say “local” band because that is what Little A will probably always be. Local bands stay local for a reason: most of the time they’ll tell you that one of the members is married, or one can’t leave his job to tour, but the real reasons usually include poor musicianship, weak songwriting, or no exposure. Not to say that Little A is guilty of all of these things, but I’m having a hard time believing that this band had the “strong national radio support” that their promo packet claims.
All that being said, Scene is Little A’s third full-length album. They play a guitar-based prog-heavy alternative rock, for lack of a better term. They are extremely average. The musicianship is not poor, but the songwriting is painfully mediocre and the singer spits obvious lines (they rhyme!) in a gruff sneer that is neither appealing nor particularly affecting. Quite frankly, I found the first four songs on the CD to be the best. They sort of remind me of Cave In’s last album: prog-y, semi-heavy, percussive songs. That being said, Cave In’s last album hasn’t aged particularly well with me, so when the next six songs on the album failed to improve on the quality, I was a bit frustrated.
“Too Much Light” contains some interesting atmospheric effects, but the singer ruins it with his quasi-angry growl, which is disappointing because he shows on other parts of the album that he is perfectly capable of singing in a tolerable voice. “Down,” the song that garnered that ridiculous compliment listed above, is one of my least favorite songs: the chorus consists of the singer repeatedly screeching “Down” over some very distorted, very evil guitars. “Here” finds the band in a bit of a better place, simply because it’s a bit poppier, and the band doesn’t feel as compelled to turn it into a heavy rock song. For the most part though, there isn’t much to redeem from this album.
I’d love to be able to recommend this band. Supporting local music is essential, because it’s good for the city, and it’s good for the fans. But there are a lot of bands in Boston. Let’s face it: Little A writes mediocre songs, and their idea of an experiment is a new guitar pedal from the local Guitar Center. Local bands usually stay local for good reasons. Little A is a perfect example.