Published Oct 17, 2019Equal parts an ode to isolation and a lament over endless gentrification, Dead Soft's Big Blue boasts a huge sound from the tiny BC island they retreated to — the only way to escape the vice grip Vancouver had on their minds and wallets.
The sonic lovechild of Hüsker Dü and Mudhoney, Arts & Crafts' latest addition attempts to add hope to the millennial struggles of high rent and low wages. In many ways, Big Blue feels like a 21st century take on the grunge movement: the world is different, the situation has changed, but the sentiment is timeless.
Adding a pop punk sensibility to the classic Sub Pop sound of the Pacific Northwest, the album's greatest moments come when the vocals of Nathaniel Epp and Keeley Rochon effortlessly mix. Combining the catchiness of Farewell Continental and the bite of RVIVR allows them to be both vulnerable and bombastic. The result is a collection of songs that vary in force, but never in quality.
While this consistency makes for an enjoyable listen, it's also the band's downfall — the album simmers, but rarely boils over. The moments it does truly explode — such as album closer "Problems" and the mighty "Porch" — their potential is obvious, making Big Blue a great taste of this underground darling's exciting future. (Arts & Crafts)