San Francisco’s emo-punks Dead To Me actually mature on Little Brother EP. One Man Army drummer Brandon Pollack & singer/guitarist Jack Dalrymple (also of Swingin’ Utters – QRO photos) forged Dead To Me out of the ashes of Army with Cuban Ballerina in 2006. But whereas Ballerina was mostly just some emo/punk-by-the-numbers, Little Brother EP is more interesting and developed.
Between the two records, Dead To Me lost Pollack and found themselves on the Fat Wreck label (Swingin’ Utters, Less Than Jake, NOFX), a home to much of the post-Green Day, post-Rancid (and post-post-Operation Ivy) Bay Area punk scene. While the emo stream is most certainly in the punk pool there, Dead To Me have started to craft it into something more with Little’s opener, “Don’t Wanna”. The catchy and pressing young punk is a little cheesy, but energetic and enjoyable, and that same strain continues with “Arrhythmic Palpitations” (which is thankfully not arrhythmic…).
The five-song EP does slip as it goes on, however. The middle title number is more of a Bay Area ska-punk upstream mixed with grander aspirations. “Ran That Scam” dips into immature emo, but still has a strong backing. Unfortunately, Little Brother reaches its nadir with final piece “What’s Wrong”, as Dead To Me find themselves now pretty emo-cheesy.
But on an EP, you’re only looking for a few strong standouts, and Little Brother delivers that from the start. Actually a little more reminiscent of One Man Army than Cuban Ballerina (albeit less SF snotty-punk – One Man was discovered by Green Day… – and more emo-punk), Dead To Me look to build into more.