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Album Review: Oneiric by Big Jesus

Atlanta alt rock act Big Jesus release their debut album Oneiric on 30th September via Mascot Label Group / Mascot Records. Think big fuzzed up riffs, pop-heavy melodies with lashings of 90s alt rock. It’s a compelling album that’s all too easy to get on-board with.

Easy comparisons are going to be made to early Smashing Pumpkins and Silversun Pickups simply due to singer/bassist Spencer Ussery’s voice. Sure it’s similar, but it comes over far happier, less introspective and plays the role of complementing the music rather than duelling against guitars. There’s a heavy note of shoegaze to Big Jesus’s sound too – tracks like ‘Shrimp’ are awash with laidback and swirling dynamics, taking you on an atmospheric journey. It’s the perfect antithesis to the heavier tracks like opener ‘SP’ with it’s hard rock pomp and crunchy guitars washed with a discernible pop quality that suckers you in. Two very different sides to the band, both equally good.

It’s hard to imagine Oneiric is the band’s debut. Their sound is well crafted and commanding in the fashion that you’d expect from a band log in tooth. “After years of playing together, we’ve gotten to be quite effective in communicating our ideas to each other,” Ussery explains – it shines through with aplomb.

Image result for big jesus band

You’d be forgiven for thinking of Gish-era Smashing Pumpkins on ‘Always’ – the guitar work towards the end is heavy on the James Iha influence, it feeds through to ‘Lock & Key’ which while sounding fresher and unique still hints at the drive of early Pumpkins. That doesn’t take anything away from the track, it’s a great stomping and bombastic song. ‘Floating Passed You’ takes those fuzzed up guitars and teams it with some instantaneous melodies and thunderous drumming. For us it’s the best moment on Oneiric – it’s the moment that Big Jesus really come into their own sound and make you take notice that they could be something special.

From there on in Oneiric gets it right every time. The guitar work on ‘Fader’ is hypnotic and immediate, while ‘Shard’ takes you on a low-fi dirty rock blast back to the 90s. ‘Oneirica’ goes for a heavier more experimental sound before the aforementioned shoegaze inspired ‘Shrimp’. The closing two track complement each other well, there’s the angular swirling guitars of ‘Felt In Reverse’ before you’re greeted by the churning and demonic guitars of ‘Heaviest Heart’. The latter is a wonderful track that puts the icing on the cake – it feels gentle but evil, chilled with a sardonic underbelly.

Get yourself acquainted with Big Jesus straight away. This will engrain itself a become a staple in your collection.

AD Rating 8/10

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