You can hear the band moving further away from hardcore and moving more into.... post-hardcore. Or math rock. Or whatever. These songs are still exhilirating as well as structurally interesting. Can’t wait to see what this ace band are gonna sound like next. This actually reminded me of a Black Sabbath album. Some sludgy, heavy epics mixed with some weird, quiet instrumentals.
Favorite track: Two Parts Together.
On May 18th, 2018, Brooklyn’s Big Ups return with their third full-length via Exploding in Sound Records. After forming eight years ago, the band comprised of Brendan Finn (drums), Joe Galarraga (vocals), Amar Lal (guitar), and Carlos Salguero Jr. (bass) continue to tackle dualities in the aptly named Two Parts Together. If 2014’s Eighteen Hours of Static was a brash screed about faith versus science, and 2016’s Before A Million Universes an introspective look at the individual against society, then Two Parts Together lies in the liminal, attempting to make sense of unknowable and basking in uncertainty.
The album’s title track finds vocalist Galarraga searching for meaning in ritual through the examples of a wedding and a funeral. “I just wanted to feel/just how it would be,” he states, hoping for some sort of self-discovery through these human institutions. This emotional inquisition is echoed throughout the album, often in opposition to the omnipresent “lake” mentioned in several songs. What rests below its surface, or bubbles up from the bottom? Throughout Two Parts Together, Big Ups wrestles with the power of mystery both tangibly and metaphysically.
And the band does so often through its signature dynamics. Lal’s biting guitar work is bolstered by Finn’s crashing and Salguero’s booming, and together they can tightly settle into a lull. But Big Ups is not simply employing its old tricks; Two Parts Together sees the quartet utilizing the studio more than ever. Their normal sonic palette has been supplemented with additional strings, harmonium, field recordings, piano, and more. The album is paced through thoughtful instrumentals and interludes, as if to offer the listener a breath of fresh air or - perhaps - a walk around the lake.
released May 18, 2018
Big Ups is:
Brendan Finn - Drums, Percusssion, Violin
Joe Galarraga - Vocals, Percussion, Guitar, Baritone Guitar, Synthesizer, Piano, Drum Machine
Amar Lal - Guitar, Percussion, Synthesizer, Bass Guitar, Field Recording, Glockenspiel, Harmonium
Carlos Salguero Jr. - Bass Guitar, Percussion
Additional Vocals on "Trying to Love" by Elana Ehrenberg
Additional Percussion on "Trying to Love" by Michael Quigley
Artwork by Austin Redwood. Art Layout by Amar Lal. Track 1 Recorded at Thump and Moon Recording by Amar Lal. Track 2-4 and 6-8 recorded at Gravesend Recordings by Julian Fader and Carlos Hernandez with additional recording at Moon Recording and Crew Cuts by Amar Lal. Track 5 partially recorded at the Moos Cabin, Ten Mile Lake, Cass County, MN. Mixed by Amar Lal. Mastered by Sarah Register. All music by Big Ups except Track 5 by Amar Lal and Joe Galarraga.