weareTheBigBang – Smoke


weareTheBigBang – Smoke

Primary URL: http://wearethebigbang.com/

In the short time since its members finished their educations at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California, the six piece funk ‘n’ soul collective weareTheBigBang has logged countless importance appearances spreading their music coast to coast. They’ve played to overseas audiences as well as American dates like SXSW, Bonnaroo, Coachella, and their music has appeared on television programming as diverse as VH1’s Mob Wives, A&E’s Born to Style, and Lifetime Network’s Dance Moms series. The five song EP Smoke is the band’s debut release.

The heart of “No” is its brisk tempo, slinky bass, and the invigorating vocal. This is a band with remarkable elasticity. The opener shows a band with a well-rounded musical attack. The pop sensibilities, notably the backing and harmony vocals, effortlessly encompass the electric flourish of funk guitars peppering the verses and keyboard colors without ever losing their way. Stylistic hybrids often produce uneven results because it’s difficult to strike and maintain the right balance between disparate influences. However, weareTheBigBang prove with one cut alone that they can find that balance on an opening song that allows them a chance for showing off their chops while still delivering a focused, high-quality effort.

The band lays reverb-tinged guitar over throbbing bass and keyboards on the opening of “Fame or Me”. It transitions quickly into sleek, driving verses that push hard towards the big chorus. Along the way, however, the band energizes the arrangement with an array of quicksilver guitar fills and keyboard crescendos. “Smoke”, the title track, favors a direct, almost rock approach before lightening the mood with melodic keyboard lines and bright guitar fills. The complex vocal melody isn’t instantly hummable, but accessible and compliments the music percussively. Dissonant bursts of guitar throughout re-emphasize the song’s rockier elements.

“Last December” has a steady tempo and another clear, superbly phrased vocal with some additional heft thanks to understated double tracking. A lot of this song is about its understatement. Carefully orchestrated keyboard passages create an assortment of interesting textures, particularly the quasi-Hammond organ sound heard in the chorus. “Running” closes the album on a deliciously funky and upbeat note. The energetic vocal grasps, once again, the importance of providing percussive counterpoint to the crackling rhythms.

Smoke is a vital debut with solid songwriting and tracks ideal for live audiences. There’s nothing phony, premeditated, or self-conscious here. weareTheBigBang are obviously committed to their first class material and exhibit outstanding chemistry as an unit. This is a must see live act and a songwriting force to be reckoned from this point forward.

Purchase Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/smoke-ep/id1017906925

8 out of 10 stars

Jason Hillenburg