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Small Town Vampire By Mark Vennis & Different Place: Escaping Small-Town Life


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Mark Vennis refuses to accept the status quo. With his band Different Place, their latest album “Small Town Vampire” rails against the suffocating conformity of small-town life in England. Through driving punk and new wave, Vennis processes his frustrations with feeling trapped.

In the title track, Vennis rebels against the “big fish small pond” mentality of people in a small town. The lyrics “small town vampire, big time dreams” and “just another blood-sucking scene” criticize how small-town life drains ambition and individuality. Other songs like “Same Old Story” bemoan the satellite nature of a small town orbiting a larger dreary town. Vennis delivers these complaints in a half-spoken passionate style reminiscent of The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn.

Small Town Vampire

The music behind the lyrics pumps along with punk urgency. “Wild Suburban Boy” questions the chances a young person has “against a tie and a crest,” referring to the establishment uniforms of business suits and school blazers. The jam-like “Slip These Chains” also asks what hopes someone has growing up in this environment. The desperation increases in “World Stops Turning” and “Hiding in Plain Sight” which detail the realization that one’s life hasn’t matched teenage dreams.

Vennis doesn’t offer any silver linings on this 24-minute album. The last track “That Familiar Feeling of Falling” focuses on confusion, not contentment. Even when the music sounds uplifting, the lyrics express anger. The overall feeling is claustrophobic – the locked-in frustration of wasted potential.

Through simple but driving music and sung rage, “Small Town Vampire” will hit home for both rebellious teens and adults lost in their unrealized dreams. Vennis has created an album relatable for anyone who feels out of place or outpaced by their ambitions. This is punk rock for the working class stuck on the edges of cultural relevance.

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