In the past I’ve described Big Eyes as half-punk, half-classic rock in a Cheap Trick vein. It’s concise and punchy like punk, but the energy relies on more traditional rock hooks. It’s great, but a part of me fears for the band’s growth because most other band’s I’ve enjoyed that get compared to classic rock eventually end up writing self-indulgent six minutes jams after a while.
So here we are in early 2019 and Big Eyes is back with Streets of the Lost on Greenway Records. It’s their first release since 2016’s Stake My Claim. Fortunately, my fears were unfounded as this one continues to hone in on those rock chops, but without the bloat. It boasts 10 songs but at just 31 minutes in total length, with only one song topping the 4-minute mark. To make a generalization, the sound is blue collar: it’s to the point and with a mental and physical toughness. Instead of excess, it’s a hard stare back at the world. That’s especially direct in “Lucky You.”
There’s a lot to like on Streets of the Lost, and a few things I don’t enjoy as much. All in all, it’s a good record with positive vibes and energy along with a rebellious I-don’t-care-what-you-think tone. Planted right in the middle of the action, “When Midnight Comes” and “Try Hard Kiss Ass” may be the most typical examples of their song. It’s tight and hard, with an emphasis on big guitars. Which ties into the one element I don’t enjoy as much, which is that sometimes the band falls into more choppy hooks. Instead of putting emotions front and center, sometimes it falls into a little bit of a robotic pattern. “Lucky You” is one example. It’s still a good song, but it gets a bit repetitive and less emotional.
More often than not, though, Big Eyes brings an alley cat’s aggression and swagger. It’s best when there’s an additional layer, a subtle but underlying warmth that humanizes the hard stare. In “The Upside,” vocalist Kait Eldridge moves up and down in cadence along with the guitar – the old “show don’t tell” adage. In the next song, “Streets of the Lost,” a little bit of feedback and a rising energy give the song a kick that she then takes and runs with, adding extra inflection as she belts out the lyrics. It’s harsh without being coarse. Much like the minute-long built-up at the front of the song, it bookends with another rising tide. These nuances give the extra life that really set Big Eyes best material apart from others who pull from the classic rock songbook. The last track, “Suddenly Nowhere” achieves the same emotional pull with a nice descending bass line to close things out.
I’m really satisfied with Streets of the Lost and it fits perfectly in the band’s catalog. That said, I like its predecessor a touch better, though I’ve admittedly been playing that one on repeat for three years and this one for about three weeks. Big Eyes are the kind of band that hit me harder the more I listen, and especially under certain moods. It’s possible that I’ll be saying the same thing when their next record comes out.
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 ...
Posted March 31, 2019, 11:01 a.m.
Big Eyes will release the new Streets of the Lost on April 5 (Greenway Records). First, they've released a video to the new song "Hourglass." The band is currently ...
Posted March 3, 2019, 1:33 p.m.
Big Eyes is back with a new single, a tour at the end of the month, and a brand new LP titled Streets of the Lost. The new album releases ...
Posted Sept. 24, 2016, 11:15 p.m.
Featuring members of Big Eyes and RIPS, country band New Rose will release their debut album, All Nite, on Broken Circles on Oct. 21. Claiming Flying Burrito Brothers as influence ...
Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:
Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.