Before a Million Universes is the second full-length from this noisy NYC three-piece. Big Ups make a razor-sharp post-punk full of hardcore vocals, low-slung bass and ragged guitar playing. Comparisons to Fugazi and Minutemen are deserved, but the band make their own sound from these influences. Tough Love release this gem, complete with beautiful artwork, on CD, standard vinyl and a very limited purple pressing.
8/10 Robin Staff review, 03 March 2016
Here… are some angry dudes. A fairly common feature, and their noise rock does things that will appeal to fans of That Kind Of Thing: you like Metz, it’s got the gnarled vocals; you like Shellac, the guitars hate you back; you’re into McLusky, they’re kinda cheeky; you dig Fugazi, the riffs occasionally offer a lil’ melody or go a bit post-hxc. There’s enough for you to enjoy simply in Big Ups’ reference points, but ‘Before a Million Universes’ is enjoyable because they do their well-studied rawk music very well.
It’s on “Capitalized” I become convinced of the fact, as they come out of angular, noise-barricaded verses and into a charming chord sequence, before tailing down into a meek lil’ bridge with a miserable bassline a la Unwound. Dynamics! Schematics! A plan! They’re all things I want from a band who otherwise just wanna scream off some feelings. Big Ups are into so much vintage alt guitar music that their music becomes varied on spec: “Posture” references the sombre, subtle meanderings of Slint before expelling such pleasantries for the usual skramz and harshly-pointed fuzz. “Negative (intro)” has old-times emo interlude written all over it, but curls into “Negative” for a lil’ feedbacking Drive Like Jehu action. Scuzzed up mutterings a la “Enablers” are embraced on “National Parks”, whose guitar-flicked harmonics sound tied to the past.
It’s kinda like a really good biopic, this, a great dramatisation of a busy but classic scene. When it's catchy, it's to die for, and though I've already mentioned the dour side of "National Parks", it erupts around a gorgeously and triumphantly emo melody. I almost prefer it when they stop going for abrasive, inaccessible climaxes and just go straight into the belly of a pop song.
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