Local Record Review: Big Bad Wolf

Big Bad Wolf
Big Bad Wolf

The quintet of fellows who make up Big Bad Wolf–who'll be celebrating the release of this free EP at a Gypsy Lounge show this Thursday in Lake Forest–clearly have ambition when it comes to their work, no bad thing at all.

Their self-titled EP, though, is the kind of debut release that best serves as an initial calling card rather than a full statement of purpose, if only because it's clear (at points arguably all too clear) what their various role models include.

Sometimes energetically peppy, sometimes sweepingly romantic, sometimes
contemplative, it's the kind of rock and roll that eschews rampant chaos
for carefully constructed drama–think U2 after a certain point, or
more recent bands like the Arcade Fire or the Helio Sequence.

Stewart's got the kind of big, keen voice that suits those bands'
aesthetics perfectly, and on a song like “Coal in the Fire” he and
songwriter/guitarist Nate Boris definitely are out to push those kind of
scaled-up post-punk-gone-arena buttons where possible.

It's all done
well enough–Elliot Richardson's engineering/production work captures
the band beautifully while keyboardist Travis Parsons is a secret weapon
more than once, including the moments where he busts out an accordion
on “Gotta Get Out”–but it's an approach that needs just that extra
step to move from celebrating an approach to staking out a distinct
place in it.

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