Big Things Are Afoot.
Big Jesus. One of those band names which, whilst not necessarily meaning anything, is so good you wonder how on earth no one had come up with it before. And as you listen to this album, again and again, you will next be left wondering about all of those people in the world who just won't find themselves exposed to interesting, challenging and expansive music of this level. Big Jesus are a four piece from Atlanta who have taken the idea of being thumbed in to a particular genre and torn it shreds, producing riff lead, awkward sounding melodic pieces of music which scale from dark and brooding to outright euphoric. For a debut album Oneiric is an excellent introduction for a band who, with the right direction, could absolutely explode in the next couple of years.
The album opens with this gritty guitar tone scratching through in a fuzzy burst, but out of nowhere these amazing soaring, melodic vocals pop through adding another dimension to the music almost in an instant. Throughout the album it is at times overwhelming (in a good way) how often you'll sit there thinking you know where a track is going before it spins off completely in another direction. It's Stoner music with the added Noise Rock/Psychedelic aspect. To a certain extent, the band sound similar to Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats but rather than sounding a bit more evocative of a year gone by this sounds fresh and exciting. Digging deep in to the bio for Big Jesus they've not been shy to say that they've been influenced by a hell of a lot of different genres across music but when listening to some previous tracks you can also actually hear how much they've matured as musicians in such a short amount of time. When you listen to tracks like Felt In Reverse or the self-titled track the band sound tight, in control and generally just confident.
Production wise, this is where it gets a little shaky. They've got a gritty edge but they would benefit from a job similar to that of which Black Peaks have benefited from recently. Vocally nothing is lost really, but it is in some of the music where if you're listening loud on headphones it can become a bit piercing. It is one of those cases though where the music itself is good enough to make you easily see past all of that.
Touching on the vocals again, if we're looking for stand out performances, Spencer Ussery's delivery may not be something everyone will be able to get on board with, but there are some clear comparisons to the likes of Billy Corgan or Kevin Shields. It all sounds very dreamy and atmospheric at times, with the lyrical content containing open ended themes. It'll be interesting again to see how far this album can take both him and the band as a whole in future.
Overall then, this is a top album, one which blends compositions interesting enough to encourage several repeat listens. Across a year you'll often listen to an album you enjoy but find that you don't actually end up going back to it - in this case once it clicks, it seriously clicks. We can't wait to hear some of this stuff live.