By: Nerhys Hall
Burlington, Ontario’s Big Lonely released their second full length Bad Magic last month. The band describes the album as “conjured up in the dark corners of a pessimistic cavern, where optimistic light leaks through tiny cracks” and “uncertain yet hopeful”. Both describe the nine track album quite aptly.
The album opens with “Just Lose”, an upbeat and almost cheery sounding track with juxtaposing dark lyrics. An underlying guitar riff keeps the track moving, though there are a couple slower sections that create a push-pull effect. Songs two and three, “Butter On Ice” and “Dream Boat” respectively, are also upbeat. “Butter On Ice” uses a simple drum beat and guitar chords with the keyboard creating most of the points of interest. A guitar solo adds some complexity the instrumentals and amusing lyrics make it a fun song to listen to. “Dream Boat” has an upbeat doo-wop sound that features a walking bass line and fifties-style vocals. Similarly, the fifth song, “Don’t Fool Me Twice” has a fifties-esque quality to it. The upbeat and poppy track features uses a simple guitar rhythm and simple drums and then builds in intensity.
Track four brings a darker and more bluesy sound to the album. The song, titled “A Place I’ve Never Been To” features a push and pull effect with soft and then intense instrumental sections. Songs six, eight, and nine also have slower tempos. “All At Once”, the sixth song, begins with keyboards and a simple rhythm gives the track an introspective feeling. Layers build up and the tempo increases for the chorus, but the song ends similar to how it began. The eight song, titled “Up My Sleeve”, at first features simple keyboards and drums with vocal harmonies, then the guitar joins in underneath the other instruments and brings slight tempo changes to the pensive feeling. The second half of the song builds in intensity and it is the longest track on the album. “Bad Magic” closes the album with an almost bluesy feeling. The drums play a simple, swinging beat and other instruments layer over top and at various points come forward to join the vocals. The track also features a guitar solo.
One track that really stands out as different is “Ticket”, song number seven. A jangly guitar and relaxed vocals follow an intro that could be right out of a country song. The drums keep the tempo moving along and creates an anthem-like feel. The song also features a slower section of solo vocals with harmonies as well as a fun guitar line. However, while the track does stand out on the album, it still fits the overall feeling and sound of the album as a whole and is a brighter spot surrounded by darker songs.
If you’re looking for a great listen with plenty of blues-based tracks, check out Big Lonely’s Bad Magic.