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REVIEW: Big Scary 'Vacation'

17 October 2011 | 11:47 am | Staff Writer

We review debut album 'Vacation', from Melbourne duo Big Scary. From opening track 'Gladiator' to 'Rolling By' closer and all in between.

Big Scary. Having been obsessively waiting for the debut album 'Vacation' to finally come out, I must say I am definitely pleased with the results. Being a fan of their previous EP's, I had high hopes for the album; looking forward to hearing how they'd continue to incorporate a large use of instrumentation with their effortless pop. Their music proves to continue to defy genre's, switching with ease from fuzzy garage rock, to indie pop led by bouncy piano riffs.

Opening track 'Gladiator' sets the tone for the rest of the album, showing their talent for perfect harmonies, thriving drums, pulsating tinny guitar riffs and an ebb and flow of building dynamics. Right from the get-go, the listener can hear the influence the duo take from bands like The National and Bon Iver in their songwriting.

For me, 'Leaving Home' would have to be the pinnacle of the album. The second track is a beautiful ballad which exquisitely combines heartfelt lyrics, driving drums, a simple yet effective riff, and a culminating climax which seems to fill the listener with an inexplicable sense of fullness. The last minute of the track is pure perfection, with a swooning synth, grungy guitar and emotive vocal.

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'Mix Tape' takes on a more familiar piano-pop take, reminding longterm listeners why they first caught on to the band. Bass-driven 'Purple' tells a story of a chronic graffiti bum, and though there are few repetitive words sung, it is catchy as all hell. Tracks 'Child In A Tree' and 'Heartbreak (Recipe For Heartbreak)' are slow and steady, showing their musicianship through meandering tempo and time signature changes and an evolution of sound.

'Bad Friends' has an eery familiarity to it, the chorus manages to stick in your head as if you've known it for years. Perhaps it strikes a chord as everyone has had/been a bad friend? 'Got It, Lost It' and 'Falling Away' are anthemic in their own special ways, using drums to create a vibe, and harmonic vocals to draw you in. Tom has the knack of making everything he sings completely believable and heartfelt, without becoming preachy.

'Rolling By' is the perfect parting track. There is a sense of goodbye in the rolling piano and whispered vocals. They sure "have a way with words". Though at just 10 tracks long 'Vacation' could be considered short; the album is packed to the punch with hitting tracks that convince the listener to the musician's talent in both songwriting and instrumentation. If you haven't already bought the album, I fully insist you go out there and support this Melbourne duo, you won't regret it.

By Melissa Holden.