Small Sanctions – “Feather Habits EP”

After hearing Small Sanctions’ EP, Barham thanks God for South Carolina!

Cameron Barham

out of 10

Small Sanctions
Feather Habits EP
October 1, 2013
Self Released

Thank God for South Carolina! There are multiple sights in the Palmetto state serving as fertile ground for the continued growth of a rich musical heritage of which Columbia serves as the epicenter (Hootie and the Blowfish not withstanding). Small Sanctions inaugural EP, Feather Habits, is a brilliant set of 4 songs that gives me hope that the indie rock on which I came of age isn’t completely dead.

The band is a tight three-piece who get the most out of their parts including Grayson Venters on vocals and guitar, John Fowler on bass guitar, and Nate Puza on drums. Venters has a great vocal quality that is both distinct and perfectly suited for their style of indie rock. My lone critique of the EP is that the vocals seem to be just a bit too far back in the mix at times. I confess that this is related to my bias toward vocals and lyrics.

Speaking of lyrics, all 4 songs are well-written providing the right amount of poetic veiling without descending into random stream of consciousness. The musical compositions exhibit ebb and tide dynamics which I am a sucker for. “Mausoleum” opens with bass and drums that would make fans of Better Than Ezra proud (of which I am one) before the electric guitar and vocals snatch the song from the jaws of comparison. Next up is “Judicial Lovers” which poetically paints a cautionary tale that begins with: “Color me ugly I’ve got confidence. Take your time slowly, find yourself, yourself. Tick tock on the clock you don’t have to rescue me. I’m not gonna come down with how you feel. Happiness is not a measurement of simple thrills.” In “Talking Bodies”, Venters is given room to exercise his vocals as Fowler and Puza march emphatically to the conclusion: “I am not the world who’s ending”. The EP closes with the intriguing “Water Buffalo”. The pace and volume lessen a bit as Venters confesses in the chorus, “Hardly fame when you sell your body. I’m the freak for giving you money. Crying out in shame and pleasure. Keep the change, I’ll be reimbursed tomorrow.”

I look forward to a full release from this band at some point in the future. In the mean time, you can catch them in Greenville on December 20th at the Radio Room and/or in Charleston on December 22nd at the Tin Roof.

-Cameron Barham, December 16, 2013

Small Sanctions Play An Unreleased Song

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