When post-punk first appeared in the United States during the early ’80s, its whole notion was to juxtapose sonic bombast with an honest expression of emotions. Somehow during the ’90s this turned into just plain “emo,” which labels such as Toledo’s Doghouse Records now churn out like clockwork for the hooded masses. Small Craft Sighting takes its cues from the more distant and vibrant past — when “alternative” really meant something and acts such as Hüsker Dü were breaking open people’s perceptions of rock music — displaying a certain magic that seems to transcend the sometimes stale status quo. On the new four-song EP, Lyndon, the three-piece band performs with a fast-paced urgency, flying through dynamic shifts with a surprisingly tight-knit and adept ease. Everything you would expect — octave guitar lines, pounding rhythms and half-screamed vocals — is in perfect place thanks to a typically masterful recording by Tim Pak of Woodshed Studios. Small Craft Sighting exhibits a brilliant gift for melody, obvious on the opening track, “Getting Dark Again.” Behind this, however, is a layer of ambiguity and regret. When bassist/vocalist Joe Kirkland addresses “Lip-Sync King” to “Ann,” it’s obvious that even if this isn’t her real name, the person is real. You see, anything that isn’t honest and genuine is merely clever, and cleverness doesn’t last. This EP, in contrast, rewards with each consecutive listen. Lyndon is a small taste of what Small Craft Sighting could become — one of the more engaging, dynamic bands to come out of Detroit’s emo scene. It’s a very, very good thing to hear.
Aaron Warshaw is the MT listings editor. E-mail him at [email protected].