Small Reactions’ debut full-length album, Similar Phantoms, is a record of dark recesses viewed through a pop lens. It’s not common—rare, even—that such stream-of-consciousness, death-affected narratives become fodder for pop music, but that juxtaposition defines this record. This is a pop album, but these aren’t love songs. And that’s precisely the point.
As proof that the goal of Similar Phantoms is to subvert, the album opens with “Minibeasts and Ourselves,” a noisy, drone heavy eulogy, before moving on to “Terrorangles,” “Mt. Ogee,” “Hung From Wire” and other taught narratives. Told through an acutely aware perspective, these are the stories of bad dreams, nearly missed connections, debt, and a less than willing suspension of disbelief. Coming from a band firmly rooted in Atlanta, GA, these images create a unique Southern Gothic bent that reflects both the immediate surroundings in which the songs were written and recorded, and a long lineage of like-minded artists.
Similar Phantoms is intended to capture as closely as possible the kinetic, frenetic energy and electricity with which Small Reactions performs live. Taking musical cues from acts such as Stereolab and Echo & the Bunnymen, these songs maintain forward momentum, often at a motorik pace. Minimal instrumentation and economical structure are evident in songs like “Sudden Walks,” “Saint in Robes,” and the title track, “Similar Phantoms.” Wire, The Strokes, and Television serve as additional reference points.
The band, Clinton Callahan (bass), Scotty Hoffman (guitar/vocals), Sam Jacobsen (organ), and Sean Zearfoss (drums), have released two 7”s, duplicated their own cassette release, and serve as backing band for fellow noise-pop subversives, Gold-Bears (Slumberland Records). They tour often and have played with bands such as Titus Andronicus, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Dream Syndicate, DIIV, Mac Demarco, The Men, The North Trolls, and others along the way.
‘Similar Phantoms’ LP Tracklisting
01. Minibeasts and Ourselves/Similar Phantoms
03. Mt. Ogee
04. Hung From Wire
06. Shark Week
07. Mid Century Squall
08. Sudden Walks
09. Saint In Robes
10. Betamax (1981)
09/04 – Mammal Gallery – Atlanta, GA
09/05 – Meltasia Festival – Lafayette, GA
09/26 & 09/27 – The Earl – Atlanta, GA