Owned since: 2013
Genre: Punchy pop-punk, the good kind
Where I bought it: In a massive order with a friend of mine
Label/pressing: Taken By Surprise
Big Eyes are one of those ‘friend bands’. You know the bands that friends won’t shut up about, endlessly support and keep nagging you about their releases to ‘check them out’. They were a quite popular band in the field that I usually call early 20’s pop-punk, which honestly is just all focused around The Fest. If you’re not aware of The Fest, it’s the festival No Idea Records runs every year in Gainesville which leads to the town’s tiny bars being overrun by bands and people who love pop-punk. There’s some other stuff there also, but it’s mostly those pop punk band and a lot of the more melodic hardcore punk groups. A shit-ton of ska also, because ska invites itself to every punk festival hitting post-500 visitors. It’s full of 3 chords punk and a lot of beer, I nearly attended it once but because of personal stuff I didn’t make the jump over the ocean to Florida.
My friend has been nagging me about going there for near 10 years now, after we met through a mutual person we dislike quite a bit. It is one of those friendships you form in the late teens when you go to a lot of shows. You walk up to the person when you encounter each other at shows, do a few all-nighter shows and just well shoot the shit a lot. A lot of my friendships from around that time are long dead through natural adult life causes, but through a lot of stuff me and this friend have honestly just been closer nowadays then we’ve ever been. He is also extremely easy to pinpoint; if it’s catchy indie-rock/garage-rock with a female vocalist [Sloot: I FEEL SEEN] he tends to like it, even more if it’s got a heavy noise rock tic. One of the best memories I got was when we went to see Screaming Females live some years ago and it ran so late we got stranded in the city with some other people. Which led to an endless night of playing pool and beer drinking. In the early 2010’s, and honestly to this day, he kept pushing Big Eyes and it honestly captures him perfectly. Punchy, catchy 3-man lineup pop-punk edging closer to more louder power pop than to punk. He wouldn’t shut up about them forever and it is the reason why I own this record, peer pressure got to me. It’s not that I don’t like it, it’s great, but that is the only reason why I own it. Sometimes, it’s just really easy to track down why we buy things and when I look at this record it just screams peer pressure.
Led by guitarist/vocalist Kate Eldrige, the band is one of those kinds that never need more then 3 chords and bass-guitar-drums to get the message across. Which is a lot of heartbreak. No joke, when you open the lyric sheet to Almost Famous most of the lyrics go about wanting to start relationships/relationships going to shit. Eldrige isn’t for deep cutting romanticism, but like their music the lyrics are straight shooting honest. Love the end bit of Can’t Catch a Break:
Like a cold that I can’t shake
SO sick today
I can’t seem to catch a break
Hold your breath, don’t make a sound
Won’t try to walk on uneven ground
Pushing leaves without a rake
When the Tree shake
I can’t seem to catch a break
Big high school poetry class energy, but I much prefer it then punk bands seeking for weird artistic lines. For the rest just endless power chords and 2 chords galore here, it’s monotone but it’s what makes it stick around. It is a classic poppy hard rock caught under a pop-punk disguise. Do you honestly need more than that? Not anymore honestly, it’s a perfect fit here and Almost Famous breezes by with its 30 minute run time. It gets a bit same sounding in the end, but when you got a solid sound who honestly gives a damn? It’s music made for small dive-bars and supporting spots for slightly bigger bands where they play away the live act. It’s just a shame the lineups keep changing, and the last record really wasn’t doing it for me. Too clean, too hard rock fueled but honestly perfect radio-rock which makes me wonder why it didn’t take off.
Almost Famous is here because my friend is a pushy bastard and I love him for it. It’s a great record and I still wear the grey band shirt I got with this record a lot. There’s a photo, that was later sold for charity, of a show where me in the grey Big Eyes shirt is jumping up on my friend’s shoulders to escape people bumping into my back. That is mostly what Big Eyes recalls for me; sweaty basement shows with 5 bands and enough cheap beer to fill a reasonably sized outdoor pool. Almost Famous might be a snapshot of a band long gone, but at least we got the memories.
If it makes Sloot happy: Hell yeah.