A fragrant, calculated desperation clings to the sonic atmosphere of Small Talk; it appears that Sister City needs a good Oedipal hug and tug from an early 90’s Weezer groupie. The musical tricks that Adam Linder, lead songwriter, employs are surprising, calculated, and infectiously energetic. His reedy voice eloquently tells cringe-worthy tales of invasive self-analysis, made beautiful with wordplay.
Essentially, Adam Linder is a songwriter for failing writers, or fans of Charlie Kaufman movies. His lyrics express a unique depression, one that seems to center around failing to translate said depression into entertainment. Lyrics like, “I am under no illusions/I am underground/Ashamed of only time I could have spent/Doing something else.” He touches on a topic that has plagued mankind since Cervante’s, Don Quixote: Young men seeing themselves as the main character in a narrative, deserving interpretation and analysis. Adam Linder is a living museum exhibit for an extant generation of neurotic, hyper-literate white boys who revile the singer/songwriters playing fedoras and wearing guitar.
Essentially, if Adam wrote Small Talk in an effort to get laid, he made some serious missteps. He could be rock god, however, if there was a greater market share of over-educated, nerds who never really forgot the mystical tingle in their chest after hearing the first seconds of Dookie, of guys who think that angry, scared neurotica set to powerful, filthy garage rock is more comforting than any Bruno Mars piano ballad, and of guys who think that bumping and pushing an overweight guy wearing a Black Flag t-shirt is far less intimidating than downing five shots to get up the courage to grind on a stranger at a dance club.
Essentially, it’s a record about the desire to be interpreted, to be interesting enough to warrant a raised eyebrow from a psychiatrist. Linder says it better in the liner notes for the last track: “This one always had to be the last song on the album. It’s got that whole pensive “what-have-we-learned” quality to it. It seems like maybe we haven’t learned much, but it also seems like that’s okay. The punk beat makes everything better.”