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Album Review: Party On by Big Awesome

Big Awesome release their highly anticipated debut album Party On on 7th August via Jetsam-Flotsam. The album follows up the bands critically acclaimed 2012 EP Birdfeeder. With Party On, Big Awesome have grown up and become a little less ‘emo’. It’s a big, accomplished sounding slab of alt rock that’s enjoyable and easy on the ear.

Sure there are many ‘emo’ moments on Party On. Lyrically, Big Awesome are an emotive band (and that’s no bad thing) take opener ‘What Grows Up Must Get Down’ on which John Blanken wrestles with no belonging and feeling alienated, closing with the line “Sometimes I forget where I am / Sometimes I struggle to find my home.” Musically there are some ‘emo’ moments too; ‘Hooper’ has the hallmarks of some of 2015s best emo bands. However it’s the rasp and rough-hew to Blanken’s vocal and the excellent guitar skills of Colin Czerwinski that set Big Awesome out from the crowd.

There’s some moments of real genius on Party On, ‘Foliage’ and ‘To Live and Die In The Dirty South’ really excel. The former is almost catchy and the latter feels like an upbeat, life affirming number which standing out as the strongest track. There’s an indie-punk energy that ignites the track while Czerwinski’s intricate guitar lines are interspersed throughout.  Title track, ‘Party On’ simmers along nicely with the guitar lines once again being the highlight.

Lyrically ‘Warning’ is a little darker, dealing with guilt and regret however it’s predominantly instrumental and here it’s the musicianship of Big Awesome that really stands out. Breakdowns between instrumental verses and intricate hooks make for a thrilling structure. The emotion that Czerwinski produces with each riff is astounding. ‘Birdfeeder Pt II (The Reckoning)’ is, unsurprisingly, a reminder of the Big Awesome of 2012 and as such it acts as a nod to how much the band have grown and progressed. They’re a different proposition now and with it they sound a lot better.

Party On is a strong and commanding album that will appeal to post-hardcore, emo and alt rock fans. Like the band, the album is a grower. Persist with it, it improves with each listen and you’ll be rewarded with nuances you may have missed on previous spins.

AD Rating 7/10

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