Reviews Big Eyes Stake My Claim

Big Eyes

Stake My Claim

As much I knew I’d like this record after spending some time with Almost Famous and seeing the band live a few times, I was hesitant to review it. There are certain sounds I have trouble describing. So while I enjoyed Almost Famous, it had this hard to summarize element where I felt vocalist Kait Eldridge’s lyrics blended into guitar that blended into the bass and drum. It’s good, I like the songwriting, I like the songs, but it I struggled with saying why. In writing about it now, that last sentence has me thinking it might be production.

Anyhow, let’s talk about the now, which is Big Eyes’ third LP, Stake My Claim. This time I can talk about it and will back up the claim that it’s a good one. Big Eyes play in the punk circuit but their sound definitely isn’t restricted to the genre ghetto. It’s more open-ended rock, but is concise, fiery, and personal, which makes it a good fit in the punk scene. I hear as much Cheap Trick and other non-gimmicky classic rock as I hear Ramones (and the obligatory Joan Jett reference). Taking those three namedrops as a foundation, then add Eldridge’s own personal voice, which is where Big Eyes truly shine and continue to grow. She’s said somewhere along the way that this record, hence the title, is her stepping forward and being more up-front.

Stake My Claim has that solid rock core but Eldridge’s vocal skill at punching out a lyric hook to match the guitar-driven songs is where the strength lies. She’s able to twist and emote her vocals within a verse-chorus-verse punk structure that’s relatively rigid and predictable, giving little twists here and there instead of going for more obvious change-ups in formula to make moments hit. It’s the surprise inflection and ability to line up with the percussion that makes it jump.

While I personally think songs complaining about smartphone culture are blasé at this point, “Leave This House” is definitely the best song on the record. The theme is about LED screens consuming our days away, but it’s the melodic twists that are truly brilliant. It balances a first person feel, a universal concept, and some hooks that both punch in the face but echo around your head after listening. To offer some high praise, this is what rock music is supposed to be.

It’s that ability to keep the melody at the forefront but subtly changing, flowing like a river, that separates Big Eyes. “Alls I Know” shuts the door on the record in the same fashion, charging with a forceful current that’s always downstream but never quite certain, each twist and turn giving a pleasant surprise. Stake My Claim grows off the imprint of their previous work, using that hard hitting rock core but giving a unique touch throughout. It’s powerful, yet tempered, forceful instead of soaring. And this time it’s personal.

8.8 / 10Loren
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8.8 / 10

8.8 / 10

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