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The Little Ones

Terry Tales & Fallen Gates

(Branches; US: 8 Apr 2008; UK: Available as import)

After parting ways with Astralwerks, The Little Ones have a full-length record hanging in limbo. However, with talk of a summer 2008 release, you might start thinking that this new EP, Terry Tales & Fallen Gates, is merely a hold-over release. A half-assed tidbit of mediocrity tossed our way to tide our foolish appetites until the real meal comes. Not so. And anyone who is a fan of their previous EP, Sing Song, know how they can deliver in the shorter format. 


Like its predecessor, Terry Tales & Fallen Gates is a strong six-song set that rarely finds a moment to slow down, and never finds a moment to be dull. Like so many power-pop bands, The Little Ones have the frenetic energy to last for miles, but they manage to channel that energy into songs that are surprisingly smooth in their delivery. They never let their high-energy feel push their songs into the herky-jerky, well-worn road of watered down post-punk or new wave. Instead, on songs like “Boracay”—the best this EP offers—the band delivers songs full of hook-laden, sweetly smooth parts that don’t quite fit together as tightly as they should. 


The results are songs that can stop on a dime and surprise you, while still etching their choruses into your brain. The drums are buried a little deeper than they are on Sing Song, and fans of older tracks like “Let Them Ring Bells” might miss that bright snap of the snare. But the consistently rolling guitar riffs, the sturdy bass lines, and the bursts of gang vocals are enough to make up the difference. Hell, with EPs this good, why do The Little Ones even need to put out a full-length?

Rating:

Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


Tagged as: the little ones
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By PopMatters Staff
8 Apr 2009
Jennifer Kelly raved about L.A. indie pop group the Little Ones back in a 2006 Now Hear This piece for PopMatters. "Not since the Spinto Band has a young musical outfit burst onto the scene with the level of infectious joy that the Little Ones exhibit on their Sing Song EP. Spinning out exuberant harmonies and indelible hooks, yet under-girded with strong, eccentrically plotted beats, the EP had the irrepressible optimism of early summer -- the smell of new mown grass and suntan lotion was practically built right in." Frontman Ed Reyes answers our 20 Questions in the midst of working on a new record.
24 Jul 2007
A tight piece of indie pop -- and some remixes -- from this new LA group.
10 Sep 2006
The Little Ones prove to be impressive without being overly distinctive, trading challenges for talented execution.
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