Of all the bands expected to be given the thumbs up by Good Charlotte, Big Jesus would be fairly low on the list. Looking at previous GC-approved acts – Waterparks, 5 Seconds Of Summer, etc. – the general theme is one of light, jubilant pop-rock. So to hear ‘Oneiric’’s lead track ‘SP’ roar out of the traps with a fat, grungy riff that could’ve been directly lifted from the Smashing Pumpkins is a fairly big shock. Fortunately, Big Jesus make the sound work on their debut to monstrous effect.
At times, ‘Oneiric’ is a fairly slow-burning affair, pulling together its grunge and shoegaze influences with Spencer Ussery’s soft, hypnotic vocals. And while tracks like ‘Lock & Key’ and ‘Shrimp’ don’t exactly brim with immediacy, their appeal is found in the way they unfurl themselves. Ussery’s floaty delivery is constantly captivating, and the fuzz-drenched sound creates a beautiful soundscape quality.
On the other side of the coin, the brilliant simplicity of a fat riff isn’t ignored either. The guitar tone on this album is enough to set teeth rattling on tracks like ‘Shards’ and ‘Felt In Reverse’, though they lose none of their languid qualities. Big Jesus do a fantastic job on this album of combining the heavy with the expansive, and though it does take a couple of listens for ‘Oneiric’ to fully unfurl itself, the end results are staggering.
The fact that Big Jesus are getting the sort of push they are is undoubtedly a good thing. Even for a debut, ‘Oneiric’ is an interesting, frequently excellent album that displays a much greater grasp on invention and organic sounds than many mainstream bands. If this sort of stuff really is getting a widespread push, having Big Jesus leading the charge is hardly a bad thing.
‘Oneiric’ by Big Jesus is released on September 30th on Mascot Label Group.
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Words by Luke Nuttall (@nuttall_luke)