Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Album Review: Big Kizz - Music Is Magic

As I have said many times, probably at too much length, and will again with the symmetry we're about to get, Graveyard is perhaps the best band to arise in the last ___ years. They have done something no one else has been able to, transforming the cliche of vintage recording into making actual classic rock records. They stand on their own, but they are not a perfect band. The cracks were starting to show when they announced their short-lived hiatus, which brings us here, as Big Kizz is the new project featuring their former drummer. This gives me the opportunity to answer a coupel of questions; is Graveyard more than the sum of their parts, and is this a hint that Graveyard has solved their issues?

The influences behind Big Kizz are different than those of Graveyard. Rather than fusing classic rock and blues, this group has more proto-punk and power-pop tinges to their music, but maintaining the vintage vibe and scuzzy production. Lead single "I Want My Girl" doubles down on the philosophy of simplicity, with basically one riff and one vocal line carrying the entire song. It tries to be a bouncy single like you would get in the late 60s, but even at two and a half minutes, there isn't enough material in it to last so long.

It becomes a common construction to have songs cycle through verses without having a chorus or a hook included to give the song its anchor. That has worked in folk music, where the song was simply a vehicle for telling a story, but it feels weird in a rock band that isn't writing narrative songs. If anything, it makes this group feel like a garage band that hasn't graduated to playing with the doors open.

What's weird about Big Kizz's music is that it isn't very melodic, and yet there aren't any riffs to latch onto either. The songs are simply there, like a cloud of breath on a cold day, evaporating before your very eyes. If you were to reach out and try to grab one, it would slip through your fingers without so much as being felt.

I'm not exactly wure what the intent behind this album was. There was a similar album a little while ago from Painted Doll that has some of the same influences, and another from Spiders. Both of those albums had songs that plied from the vintage playbook, but had several songs with riffs and melodies that stood out from the crowd. They were flawed, but good albums that brought back a sliver of yesteryear. Big Kizz doesn't do that at all. This dabbles a bit in a variety of sounds from 1695-1975, but like a collage it has no message of its own.

I like my music to be organic, so I always want these bands that make very natural sounding records to succeed. What has become very clear to me in my years spent as a reviewer is that very few of these bands think beyond the gear they need. Big Kizz has made a record that sounds like it came out before the 8-Track was invented, but that's easy. This album sounds like more time was spent figuring out how it should sound than was spent on writing the songs. I knew this record wasn't going to be a Graveyard album, but to hear the chasm between them is enlightening.

Music might be magic, but these illusionists can't make this album look good.

No comments:

Post a Comment