Dear and the Headlights – Small Steps, Heavy Hooves

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Artist: Dear and the Headlights
Album: Small Steps, Heavy Hooves
Label: Equal Vision Records
Purchase: Smart Punk
Release Date: February 6, 2007

Overall: 7.5
Music: 8.0
Lyrics: 7.0
Production: 7.0

I was interested in Dear and the Headlights after hearing a song or two on their Myspace, but when I got their album I felt like would be unable to review it because it was quite difficult for me to pinpoint their sound. Their sound shifts from song to song, sometimes soft-spoken and soothing “but with synth instead of piano “like Copeland (e.g. “Oh No”), sometimes more like the peppy indie rock of Rooney (e.g. “Sweet Talk”), sometimes reminiscent of alternative bands like Coldplay or British pop-rockers Travis (“Happy in Love”), and sometimes ringing in my head like Straylight Run (“I’m Bored, You’re Amorous”) or even at times like Dashboard Confessional (“Run in the Front”) “mostly due to vocal inflections common in the sub-genre.

Musically this album can be filed neither under emo, despite aforementioned vocal stylings calling various emo bands to mind, nor indie rock. While pop-punk influences are clear, for the most part, guitar riffs are strong and varied making the entire album an interesting listen. Before putting the band’s variation to words, I was disappointed by the unreliability in style. However after a few listens and an attempt to describe the sound on Small Steps, Heavy Hooves, I’ve found that Dear and the Headlights essentially deliver a well-rounded, mainstream album.

Tracklisting:

  1. “Oh No!” (4:14)
  2. “Sweet Talk” (2:56)
  3. “Hallelujah” (4:09)
  4. “Happy In Love” (3:45)
  5. “I’m Bored, You’re Amorous” (4:00)
  6. “Grace” (4:05)
  7. “It’s Gettin’ Easy” (3:32)
  8. “Paper Bag” (3:53)
  9. “Skinned Knees and Gapped Teeth” (3:35)
  10. “Run in the Front” (4:22)
  11. “Mother Make Me Golden” (4:12)
  12. “I Just Do” (3:43)
  13. “Midwestern Dirt” (6:46)

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