This is the “god knows how many times” draft of this post. I’d started writing it when coronavirus was a twinkle in Donald Trump’s eye and Covid 19 sounded like an Eastern European football club that Aston Villa might lose to if they ever got the Europa League qualifying round
Things have changed significantly though. The potential for Big Moon to be a festival hit this summer is receding. Musicians are amongst those that will be struggling to make ends meet for the foreseeable.
So stay safe please and look after yourselves and your loved ones.
I think this is a first for me (and possibly Rough Trade). The Big Moon’s debut album, Love In The Fourth Dimension, was an April 2017 Album of the Month. Here we are, almost three years later and their second LP is also subject to the same elevated status, not something what I recall happening before.
What did I say back then?
There are times that you want something high quality but relatively unchallenging. If this sounds like being damned with faint praise, the Big Moon’s debut LP is really rather good.
Walking Like We Do is the same but different. Let’s start with the similar elements first. The lyrics remain witty and well observed, possibly with more relevance to a younger twenty-something rather than this fifty plus old geezer. The album is melodically strong. These girls clearly know their way around building a song with old fashioned elements like middle eights and choruses.
So what’s different? The sound is slicker, more use of drum machines and keyboards. This is where I feel conflicted and I think I know that I’m wrong and they’re right (how gracious of me to recognise this!).
Here’s how it plays out for me.
I’m a Bowie fan. I like artists that develop from album to album – Talking Heads, Miles Davis, David Sylvian. The Big Moon have done this. The points of difference between Love in the Fourth Dimension and Walking Like We Do are there, clear and obvious. My issue is that it takes them down an avenue that is more mainstream, more radio friendly. I’m absolutely fine with all of that – I love a decent pop song from the Beatles and the Beach Boys through Blondie to Beyonce.
I can absolutely imagine these songs being playlisted and going down a storm at a festival. We saw them at Glastonbury when the debut album was released and they were excellent. If memory serves, they were on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch a few months ago which is an unusual but pretty good indicator of imminent commercial success. If you can listen to it whilst shredding your kale or julienning your ginger, then they must be on the right track.
For me though, the slickness just makes the album, as a fifty something year old listener, a less compelling as a piece of work when heard in the round.
The single, Your Light, sounds built for the sunset slot at an outdoor gig. The feet off the pedals video motif is perfect, echoing Supergrass’s Alright. The lyrics have plenty of Lily Allen-like knowingness (“Now we just hang around like a haircut growing out, This planet never needed gravity to drag you down“). The song is really well constructed with an excellent pre-chorus before the lid gets blown off for the hook.
The album just wasn’t what I fancied at the moment and therefore it got swapped for the brilliant Ben Watt LP which I wrote about last time.
I’m still playing the Big Moon LP and really enjoying it. Maybe the pleasant turn in the weather will do the trick.