Music Review :: Dear & the Headlights — Small Steps, Heavy Hooves

I was torn whether I label this as “Classic” or not. The album is over ten years old, but no one knows this band. I find this a travesty, though I do understand.

Small Steps, Heavy Hooves is a fantastic album by Dear and the Headlights. It was released through Equal Vision records at the WORST possible time ever. On Letting Go by Circa Survive was getting all the marketing and this album was being released in a post-Transatlatism world. This album did not have a chance, but really should be loved by everyone.

It is the perfect combination of pop rock and (I don’t want to say) country (but I have to). The guitar lines can either be simple and magical, or complex yet griping. The guitar players are some of the best you can find in this style, and that ability does transcend through every other member of the band. Nothing is mind blowing levels of complex, but nothing in distasteful in anyway.

The “weakest” link is the vocalist. He jumps between notes, and his transitions are rarely clean. I put weakest in quotations because it is actually more of a stylistic choice as opposed to a lack of ability.


I am going to put this song as the sample at the bottom, but the bass line in “Sweet Talk” is possibly the coolest bass line I have ever heard. Jazzy, but perfectly encapsulates the sound of the entire album. I don’t say this enough, but I think this bass player actually makes this band.

Anyway, this album changes tone with every song. Not in a whiplash kind of way, more just ensuring that you won’t be bored with future listens.

Jesus, I’m rambling. I’m sorry, I just love this album so much.

My point is simply that I love this album, and I really feel like it was under appreciated. It still holds up, and I know that people would love it. Recommended for fans of Death Cab for Cutie or any other of the myriad of bands that came around that time. Perfect the remember that sound, but find something that sounds completely unique.

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