Big Troubles were formed by a group of kids who had been friends since high school, playing in bands, listening to records and coming of musical age together. As children of the ’00s, they’re lucky enough to have a vast history of pop and indie rock to draw upon. They’re omnivorous musical consumers, as enamored of classic Brit-pop gems as they are of ’90s slacker indie rock. Led by two very gifted singer / songwriters in Alex Craig and Ian Drennan, Big Troubles are that rare beast: a band with two distinctive musical voices that smoothly mesh to create one integrated personality.
Early recordings by the pair were of the lo-fi, home-recorded variety, but over time they’ve grown (with the addition of drummer Sam Franklin and bassist Luka Usmiani) into a full four-piece band to fully realize their tunes. Their first album Worry (2010) and its attendant singles were excellent fuzz-pop records in their own right, but to make their new LP, the band brought in the legendary Mitch Easter, whose résume includes stone-cold classics from the likes of REM, Pavement and his own Let’s Active. With Easter’s expert engineering help, Big Troubles’ excellent new album Romantic Comedy is a masterpiece of modern pop; a perfect balance of grit and polish, gorgeous guitar sounds and angelic vocals, underpinned by a set of superb songs.
“Sad Girls” is the first single from Romantic Comedy and an ideal introduction to Big Troubles, 2011-style. A lovely slice of updated power-pop based on a catchy stop-start verse that gives way to an indelible, spiraling chorus, this tune is as big and bright as they come. By the time the chiming outro hits, you’re well hooked, and the only option really is to play the tune all over again. On the flip side, “Phantom” raises the volume a bit, hearkening back to first-album hits like “Freudian Slips” and “Bite Yr Tongue.” This single is evidence that Big Troubles have truly upped their game, and you’ll be as excited to hear the full album as Slumberland is to bring it to you.
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