Connecticut’s Big Fang has returned with their second release, the EP Everything & Nothing at Once, Part 1. We at Divide and Conquer reviewed their debt EP, Human Distance.
Remember how you used to get a new LP and you’d read the liner notes and the credits to try and detect any internal band drama? Did they change producers? Why did they bring in to play “additional” instruments that they already had in the band? Who’s writing the songs? Well, LP sleuths, Big Fang provides some fodder. Just three members return from their previous release: Tony Mascolo (guitar, vocals), Chris Otero (bass) and Jacob Doherty (drums). Melody Celle (credited for lyrics only on Human Distance) gets one writing credit, and three turns at the microphone. Producer Sam Carlson adds some “additional guitar.” Also carried over from the previous release is one song “Emergency.” What is going on with BIg Fang? I can’t wait to find out!
Five tracks are new, starting with “Take” and “Waiting.” They’re both uptempo, pop-punk tracks with nice washes of guitars and catchy choruses. Celle’s vocals feature prominently in “Take” (is she in the band? Inquiring note-readers want to know!), and Big Fang is off to a good start.
“Mondays” keeps up the fast tempo and jangly punk guitars with very cool string parts from Laura Klein and Jesse Newman (are they in the band too?) augmenting the sound. There’s a really nice build into the end, reminiscent of a classic Moody Blues track, where the band layers in lots of vocal, guitar and string counterpoints off the main melody. The somewhat ironic lyric brought a smile (“people in love say Mondays are wonderful”). This is the creative peak on the EP with the band exploring its full range.
After that, the “Emergency” retread is a bit of a let-down, which is more due to its album sequencing than the actual performance. This hooky cut (with R.E.M.-like vocal harmonies on the chorus) doesn’t seem terribly different from the version on Human Distance--it works, but it’s more remix than reimagination. “Fading Phase” is another uptempo, pop-punk track in the same vein as “Take,” “Waiting” and “Emergency,” although Celle’s backing vocals save “Fading Phase.” With all of these tracks using the same guitar tones and rhythmic patterns, I was left wanting a riff, or maybe a change of tempo.
“Same Old Song” delivers on that need. There’s a riff under the Cars-like verse; Big Fang updates Ric Ocasek by going nicely chromatic on the chorus. The EP finishes with a nice big splash of layered vocal harmonies.
This album is well-executed, but would have worked better as a four-track EP. A run of “Same Old Song,”“Take,” “Fading Phase” and “Mondays” would be a tight, interesting set. “Emergency” didn’t add anything new, and “Waiting” could be part of volume two, which we eagerly await.
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