Big Deal consider this new record to complete an informal concept trilogy with their first 2 albums, Lights Out and June Gloom. But Say Yes doesn’t feel like an ending: as might be expected from an album that follows a tour supporting Depeche Mode(!), the duo are in full-bore energetic mode. Out on FatCat.
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A few years ago Big Deal were a kind of folky duo consisting of a middle aged man and a younger woman singing together. Since then, second album 'June Gloom' was actually quite good and headed lovingly at times into Joyzipper territory. Now they are continuing that albums move towards a Big Rock Sound albeit with plaintive moments. Opener ‘Hold Your Fire’ is a big massive rock thing with acoustic bits, ‘Avalanche’ is raunchy rock that appears to have been drafted in from some Suzi Quattro album or other while ‘Say Yes’ shows glimpses of what Big Deal do best, it's still cavernous enough to sound like they are running through the song at a soundcheck but it has that slice of melancholy that helps grunge hit heartstrings. The chorus is really squeaky - almost Danielson squeaky in fact. Like the better bits of ‘June Gloom‘ Big Deal are better when they play it strange, I have no idea why parts of the album are so damn obvious - I can’t imagine Fat Cat putting them under pressure to have a hit. ‘Lux’ is the first sign that there is something more interesting happening, a grungy thing with horrible, horrible (as in good) bass sound, there carry in vogue shoe-gaze influences on ‘Kitty Pride’ which has a bit of Swervedriver going on before they start screaming at you again.
The melodies prove that Big Deal are not wholly awful, its just that their shouty choruses makes them seem too desperate. The best bands that make this kind of music have something odd about them (Pixies, Breeders) and Big Deal need to bring a bit more subtlety and oddness into their music. As it is, instead of feeling energised I just feel like I’ve been shouted at for a half hour.
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