Big Deal - Lights Out

The sound may be sparse, but the feeling evoked is one of intense emotion.

The past year has seen a proliferation of boy / girl indie pop duos. With the likes of Tennis, Cults, Summer Camp and Sleigh Bells all enjoying varying degrees of success, it appears that male / female duo’s are in vogue. Adding to this trend, with the release of debut album ‘Lights Out’, are East London based Big Deal.

Big Deal are a rather stranger proposition than other similarly gender based duos, and their debut album is a beguilingly understated take on a well worn style of indie pop. Uniquely, the band feature no rhythm section, and indeed there is no programmed bass or drum machine to be heard; the only instruments featured are the twin electric and acoustic guitars of Alice Costelloe and her band mate KC Underwood, coupled with their intertwining vocal harmonies. This subtle, stripped back approach allows the melodies and the supremely strong song writing to shine through.

‘Lights Out’ has clearly been influenced by classic American rock and there are strong echoes of The Velvet Underground throughout, particularly on opener ‘Distant Neighbourhood’ and former single ‘Homework’. The sound of the album is largely acoustic and the lack of bass and drums in favour of guitar sounds at times lilting, at times raw and ragged makes for a disconcerting woozy effect which perfectly accentuates Alice Costelloe’s keening, sighing vocals.

There is a general theme of relationships throughout the album and songs of love and desire dominate , for example, ‘Chair’s’ plaintive tale of unrequited love: “You don’t trust me to sit on your bed, put me in a chair in the corner instead.” This powerful image of longing and teenage desire is made all the more effective when coupled with Costelloe’s pleading vocal. The sound may be sparse, but the feeling evoked is one of intense emotion.

There are, however, drawbacks to having such a stripped back sound. At times the album drags as song after song follows a similar, albeit very pretty, structure. You do get the feeling though that Big Deal are a band who have a lot more to give. It remains to be seen if they will ever expand on their sound, but for a debut album ‘Lights Out’ is extremely successful in establishing Big Deals style: intimate, languid, full of love and lust and perfect for late summer evenings. ‘Lights Out’ may be short on genuine thrills but it more than makes up for this with frequent moments of real beauty. A very promising debut album from a very interesting band.

Tags: Big Deal, Reviews, Album Reviews

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