Big Awesome

Party On

Written by: PP on 09/02/2016 22:00:09

I wonder if Big Awesome got their name from a session where they recorded the first demo, realized it sounded like a hybrid between Tigers Jaw and The Menzingers, and someone shouted after the song, "That was AWESOME". A silly theory, I admit, but given how closely their debut album "Party On" follows the example set by those bands, it's entirely plausible that's exactly how it could've happened. And the parallels don't stop there. Much like early Menzingers records, there is a sense of potential waiting to be unleashed to its full punk-fueled alternative rock glory underneath a rocky, unpolished surface that results from a small budget production.

Opener "What Grows Up Must Get Down" showcases the very dynamics that made The Menzingers one of the bands to watch on 2010's "Chamberlain Waits". It's a nostalgia-driven song driven forward by emotionally charged, raw croons that are destined for much bigger venues given the huge sing-along potential and rollicking, upbeat rhythm of the song. This is the kind of stuff that "On The Impossible Past" was made of from start to finish. "Hooper" plays with similar quiet/loud dynamics with shouted out verses and calmer instrumental sections as said band, almost to the extent that it's dangerously close to sounding like a rougher clone of the original band. Fortunately, the band make it clear already on "Wolf" that's far from the case. Here, any fan of Tigers Jaw's self-titled debut will find themselves right at home, given the indie-flavored guitars and mood-setting delivery. There's an emotional overload in the vocal department, and the guitars ring with sadness and melancholy in just the right manner to merge revivalist emo together with a more 2010s punk-based soundscape. Same goes for "Pay Attention", one of the highlights of the record in that category.

The rest of the record continues in an even split between these two styles. Either we're in the anthemic, raw pop punk style of The Menzingers that's ultimately designed to work on larger stages than basements, or at the intimate emo and touching soundscapes of Tigers Jaw, with the exception of the vocals being slightly less intensely emotional. The guitars, although nearly identical to the latter band at times, are what makes it worth a listen considering how well they setup a mellow soundscape against the passionately crooned vocals. What's clear is that "Party On" isn't a classic, but the songwriting gives indication of a much larger, yet unused potential. Perhaps one day we'll look at this record like "Chamberlain Waits" and think back of it as an essential in a band's catalogue that has taken the scene by a storm on their sophomore album.

Download: Wolf, What Grows Up Must Get Down, Hooper, Pay Attention
For the fans of: Tigers Jaw, The Menzingers, Everyone Everywhere
Listen: Facebook

Release date 07.08.2015
Jetsam-Flotsam

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