Small Brown Bike / Casket Lottery - "Split"
Second Nature Recordings, 2002

Michigan's Small Brown Bike and Lawrence's Casket Lottery have put a new spin on split-CDs.

Whereas BYO Records' split-CDs have bands covering one another's songs, and other splits simply feature two bands sharing a disc, this Second Nature release is a true collaborative effort.

Neither group overshadows the other, and while each performs a song alone, the other four songs feature both acts performing together. Most notable is a cover of Bowie and Queen's "Under Pressure."

The choice of covering another coming together of two acts is a telling sign of how cohesive this recording is.

Both bands have shared bills together during the past couple years, and as the bands became friends, the idea of a shared recording took shape. The nearly two-and-half years of work has resulted in Small Brown Bike and the Casket Lottery creating an effort that is emotionally intense in a way that most "emo" acts can only dream about.

All the songs compliment one another, as well, reflecting a theme of loneliness, pushing you as you listen. The lyrics are sung beautifully, with heartfelt longing, and yelped when the passion runs high.

The guitars, bass, and drums all come together with the vocals to create music that is driven by no one element, and yet dependant on each one.

I'm amazed at how amazing the disc is. From the recording to the performance to the artwork, the whole album is top-notch. Two years ago, you couldn't have paid me to listen to this style of music. However, since the Casket Lottery and Small Brown Bike do this emo/indie/melodic/whatever so well, it's nearly impossible to remove this album from my musical rotation.