I’ve been behind Accents for their last two albums; their genre-ignoring folk/indie/rock/pop-punk sound leans heavily on the strength of great melodies and impeccable arrangements, despite the disparate genre commitments of their songs. The five-song Small Tales continues their gleeful frolic through genre expectations. Opener “Down Down Down” is an upbeat folk strummer with horns, jubilant harmonies, and way more sunshine than I expect on a gloomy Monday morning. They follow it up with “For Now,” an ominous, heavy piece that calls to mind Deep Elm labelmates Athletics in its blurring of the modern rock/post-rock divide. Somehow, the two fit next to each other nicely.
While “Down Down Down” is the melodic highlight of the EP, “Settle Down Instead” is the lyrical centerpiece. With a chipper-yet-wistful acoustic ditty reminiscent of the Weepies, the band tells the story of the inevitable fade of friends and interests to time. It propelled me to look up some friends I haven’t heard from in a decade on the Internet, and then I went down a rabbit hole for a while. In other words, it’s a moving tune in more than one way. Two more nice songs fill out the EP, which really feels more like a teaser for something to come than a full meal from Accents (particularly because their two full-lengths are so long and yet so strong). If you’re looking for something short and sweet and fun for your day, check out Accents’ Small Tales.