The Big Sound - Stand So Tall
Release Date: 2004
Record Label: Unsigned
The Big Sound have alot to offer with their self-released debut, Stand So Tall, a sound that is not only refreshing and exhilarating, but a perfectly crafted, unique style that you won't soon be forgetting. Since forming in 2002, The Big Sound have been penetrating audiences with their infectious blend of early Jamaican reggae, dub, rocksteady, and traditional ska, and provide nothing short of excellence with their 11-song debut. This is the breath of fresh air i've been longing for.
Though the album itself can run together at times, due to the undeniable similarities between the majority of offered tracks, each track is unique, passionate, and refreshing in it's own individual way. "Waiting", the records opening track, is an accurate representation of the bands sound as a whole, and serves up the first dose of lead vocalist Colin Giles signature vocal ability. "She Just Don't Know", the second song on board, is positively reminiscent of a handful of early Jamaican artists (in the vein of Desmond Dekker), and it's safe to say that the band compliments the genre quite nicely. "Stand So Tall", the records title track, is without a doubt the most appealing song here, complete with a bright showing of Chris Torres' talent on the keys.
Skipping ahead to the records seventh track, we reach what is undeniably the most upbeat track you'll find throughout the course of Stand So Tall, "No, No, No". It's quite comforting to have the suspicion of how this band performs at various tempos completely erased, and with a positive aftertaste at that. The records ninth track, "There's Something About Her", is yet another impressive highlight. Despite the fact that its running time is unfortunately rather short, The Big Sound give it all they've got in those two minutes and fourty-four seconds. The result is a slower-paced, harmony-filled ballad, which is yet again shockingly reminiscent of early Jamaican reggae. The guitar work from Aren Hansen, carrier of the bands lead battle axe, is fabulously arranged and more or less stunning. "You're On My Mind", the tenth track up to bat, draws obvious influences from a more traditional ska sound, and leads perfectly into the records quite similar closer.
All in all, it would be a shame to see this record go unnoticed. Throw aside your requirements of a band backed by a record label and give The Big Sound a chance. This album says alot for what unsigned bands are capable of, and I can honestly say I can't see this bands current status staying motionless for too much longer. The lyrics are straight-to-the-point, yet wonderfully written to say the least. The overall sound, though awfully similar as a whole, is impressive and refreshing amongst the far too many cliche sounds arising today. Stand So Tall is an infectious debut, packed to the very brim with individuality, and almost entirely boasting with excellence. Not only will this album be lodged inside my player for weeks to come, but it's just more confirmation to the fact that California has produced some of the greatest bands of all time.