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One Small Step for Landmines

One Small Step for Landmines

(Civil Defense League; US: 11 Sep 2007; UK: 10 Sep 2007)

You don’t necessarily have to buy the Rites of Spring album to hear what emo rock sounded like before its big post-millennial MTV makeover. This is what bands like One Small Step for Landmines are for. All of the catchy minor-key chord changes are in place, and the overly robust lyrics are a go, but One Small Step for Landmines are not a group to succumb to cabaret fantasies or “guyliner” (shudder). Instead, the Florida trio (vocalist Kevin Allen, drummer August Hansen & bassist Steve Leacock) seem to be content with rocking your dorm room, as poppy numbers like “Good Men Die Young and I’m Not Feeling Well” and the excellent “What I’m Down For” (what a guitar solo!) remind you what alt-radio sounded like before it was packaged in Buzz Ballads-styled compilations. The group’s sound is very tight indeed, but rarely do they break outside of it. The few times they tread into new sonic territory (the acoustic ballad “Don’t Go to Hell” and “Everything’s Gonna Be All Right”) they succeed majestically. Overall, the group’s eponymous effort isn’t the kind of disc you’ll write home about, but it’s still a giddy, fun pleasure that wins you over pretty easily. Recommended for genuine rock nostalgia hunters and people looking for a damn good time.

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Evan Sawdey started contributing to PopMatters in late 2005, and has also had his work featured in publications such as SLUG Magazine, The Metro (U.K.), Soundvenue Magazine (Denmark), the Daily Dot, and many more. Evan has been a guest on HuffPost Live, RevotTV's "Revolt Live!", and WNYC's Soundcheck (an NPR affiliate), was the Executive Producer for the Good With Words: A Tribute to Benjamin Durdle album, and wrote the liner notes for the 2011 re-release of Andre Cymone's hit 1985 album A.C. (Big Break Records), the 2012 re-release of 'Til Tuesday's 1985 debut Voices Carry (Hot Shot Records), and many others. He currently resides in Chicago, Illinois. You can follow him @SawdEye should you be so inclined.


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