BIG / BRAVE are a trio of rock heaviness, generating a sound that veers between post-rock, blasted grunge, and noise-rock. Au De La is their second full length, and features the highly capable talents of Efrim Menuck on production duties. Released as a no-doubt lusciously packaged CD or LP by Southern Lord.
8/10 Robin Staff review, 17 September 2015
No one is more about self-seriousness than I here at Jeremy Normyn Records, and so I have naturally found a certain kinship with ‘Au De La’. Made by the now almost prolific BIG BRAVE -- who have worked their way through an EP, a debut LP plus this one in a wizard three years -- this record switches between tense but not taunting noise rock, droning band arrangements, and a love of invoking the approach of sprawling. As if that inherently makes music more meaningful. It kinda does, though: this record stretches its pieces into each other, not separating its genre affections too strictly and keeping a crushing drumbeat in sight at all times.
Absorbed into a basic landscape of post-rock (right down to the song titles), ‘Au De La’ has the doomier tendences of a latter-day Godspeed album (which makes sense, considering that a certain Efrim Menuck recorded this record at his Hotel2Tango studio); it calms and waits, as in the vocal-drone interchange of “Look At How The World Has Made a Change”, but then curls around the corner to a noisier, more urgent conclusion. At times, it sounds like BIG BRAVE are making one strand of doom and another strand of noise rock, then stitching them together -- the single, sharp chords interacting with the drums on “Look at the World” sound like Swans on Thou.
It’s no wonder BIG BRAVE can turn over a decent level of material in three short years; their ideas are numerous and their hearts full, with tracks like “do.no.harm” moving from washed-out ambient serenity to noisy preacher sermons in seconds. This is the record’s best song, and it’s also its loosest, its most unproficient, containing a detailed poem that comes instead as an outburst. They may sound like slow-burning strategists, but this band hurry and howl. Recommended for those who like songs to be both hopeful and hopeless.
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