Big World Abide is a compilation album by singer/songwriter Eric Anders featuring selections from his previous four albums. The songs are beautifully written, sung and produced, and flow together well in this new context for them.
“Tethered To The Ground” opens the album with Elliott Smith-esque acoustic guitar before a slow build into organ and drums and U2-like anthemic chorus. The title track continues the U2 vibe while adding a funky bass line and excellent offbeat piano chords. “Remains In Me” has a Neil Young timbre to the vocal which soars over a solid drum groove. The guitar solos are particularly excellent on this song moving with great momentum out of the acoustic and slide guitars from the verse.
“These People” slows down the groove and has a Sneaker Pimps vibe. Anders' brilliant legato vocal tone sits well on top of the chords. “Remembering On My Own” is constructed over a drone and tabla-like percussion. The vocal inflections channel Mark Kozelik.
A cover of Violent Femmes' “Blister In The Sun” is transformed and reexamined in a minor key. Unearthing some of the more subtle realities of the lyrics over mellotron-like strings, it's very effective and could be a lost track from Ryan Adams' Love Is Hell project. “Icurus” is pure alternative from the ‘90s between a great countermelody in the bass, a Beatles-y chorus and a buzz saw guitar line. “Genocide and Justice” is almost like an English folk song. The build is very well-constructed growing from lonesome acoustic guitar and voice to a blistering solo and some Mazzy Star-ish slide guitar thrown in here and there. “Looking Forward To Your Fall” is a 12/8 march with an epic synth-string arrangement. It's well produced, but the voice doesn't ever quite reach the intensity of the arrangement and feels as though they may have been in two separate rooms.
The album closes with a trio of well-written songs. “Never Enough” has a melancholy vibe over galloping drums. “Settlin' Comes” features gorgeous guitar arpeggios over a cleverly programmed drum machine. “How Low and Why” is an elegiac piece with touching lyrics, sparse but useful piano and dissonant horns.
Big World Abide is an excellent compilation of material for those who are looking to discover Eric Anders, or for the Eric Anders fan on a budget. The songs work well together and inspire further listening into his catalogue.
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