|By Nick Woodside||Friday, 27 Jul 2007|
I’m going to honest with you. This album kicks my ass. It’s time to face the fact that this record is a force and will easily work you over if you give it half a chance. Jared Warren (bass/vocals) and Coady Willis (drums) know it too. I read an interview with the band recently and they were asked how Big Business differed from their other groups (Karp, Tight Bros from Way Back When, Murder City Devils). Their response sums up this album: “No bullshit.”
Honestly, the second track “Hands Up” is pretty much the auditory definition of “sans bullshit”. Willis lays down 4 bars of barely contained drumming before Warren’s bass explodes into a ridiculously heavy riff. Seriously, the first note sounds like its being shot out of a shook up soda bottle. 3 minutes later you’re left wondering if Warren’s cries of “Stampede!” are a metaphor or a command.
The album then dips into the slower, but no less demanding, “Shields”. Warren’s desperation when singing about death is heightened by the ominous feeling of the track. “What could go wrong/I can’t count the number of ways/you could be mauled or burned for starters/you can still drown in knee deep waters/that’s enough to hole up and hide in a cave”. Thanks for reminding me that death is everywhere because I clearly don’t panic about it enough as it is. Shit, this song might end up being the theme song for my 30th birthday.
Before closing out the album with the surprisingly mellow instrumental jam “Another Beautiful Day in the Pacific Northwest”, the band rips through one last scathing track that has some of the best lines of the album. “I’ll Give You Something to Cry About” addresses someone on their death bed who clearly has a lot to answer for. Warren sings lines like “I’d like to forgive and forget/but I can’t/it’s just one of the ways I’m petty” with such sarcasm that he really sells the emotional weight of the words. For me though, the best part of the song comes at 3:45 when Warren’s bass drops to the background and he sings “Relish this moment/’til death to us part/I want answers before it’s too late/take your time old man/these vultures are happy to wait”. It’s a great line delivered perfectly and pretty much makes the album for me.
Wow, I painted a pretty bleak picture of this album, eh? Trust me it’s not really like that at all. It’s far from a record that only works while writing dark poems about wolves and the River Styx. This album is ridiculously tight and will end up being one of my favorite albums of 2007.