Short review: If you liked the third Small Brown Bike album The River Bed and don’t mind female vocals then you will like this. If you were more of a fan of the first two Small Brown Bike albums, Our Own Wars and Dead Reckoning and did not care for The River Bed or you don’t like female vocals then you probably won’t like this album.
Long review: LaSalle is a new band composed of the vocalist and drummer of one of my all time favorite bands, Small Brown Bike. To understand this album a little better it helps to know the history of Small Brown Bike. Small Brown Bike’s first two albums Our Own Wars and Dead Reckoning were melodic screamy hardcore at its best. The band then made the leap from No Idea to Lookout Records and recorded the more deliberate and a slower-paced The River Bed. Frankly, with such a change in sound it was no surprise to me when Small Brown Bike called it quits soon after. It seemed that maybe the band did not see eye to eye on the future of their sound.
With the release of Expeition Songs by LaSalle it seems to support the aformentioned conclusion. The progression that was apparent on Small Brown Bike’s final album is here as well. The one change up is the addition of female vocals which works fairly well for the most part. At times I do think the interweaving male and female vocals distract a little. For example, when Katy Reed takes the lead vocals on the track “Move, Stop, Repeat”, the results are extraordinary. The one thing that surprised me about the release is the weakness of Mike Reed’s vocals at times. You never felt that while he led Small Brown Bike. Hopefully that can be corrected as the band continues to grow into its skin. Overall though, Expedition Songs is a strong release that hints at greatness for the future of LaSalle.