Release DetailsLABEL Hydra Head
RELEASED ON 3/6/2007
Here Come the Waterworks
posted on 4/2007 By:
When I first heard “Grounds For Divorce,” the lead single from Big Business' Here Come the Waterworks a few months ago, my initial reaction was to sigh, hang my head, and utter to myself “Well, it was fun while it lasted.” Upon first hearing that song, I prematurely determined that the duo of Jared Warren and Coady Willis had decided drop the mournful, stream of conscious atmosphere of Head for the Shallow in order to make an upbeat and “fun” rock n' roll album. Now, after giving Waterworks some time to sink in, I have to admit that my initial reaction was probably way off; this album isn't nearly as "fun" as I dreaded it might be. But there's still something about these songs, a certain refinement and polish, that makes them light years less compelling than the material on Head for the Shallow.
Waterworks begins with a reworked version of “Just as the Day was Dawning,” from last year's tour EP. Immediately the cleaner production provided by Phil Ek and the noticeably more calculated execution distinguishes this song from the EP version with its rounded out edges and studio embellishments. It's still a great song, but it sounds strangely restrained and almost neutered. It's kind of like seeing an old friend who you used to party all the time with in high school after being apart for a few years. Only, you found out in the meantime he stopped drinking and got a steady girlfriend. You hate to fault him for it, but he's just not the same guy anymore. From this point on, the tone is set. “Another fourth of July ... Ruined” sounds like a meandering and pointless transition track and “I'll Give you Something to Cry About,” features some good ideas, but not enough to justify it's 9 minute run-time.
The aforementioned “Grounds For Divorce,” is my personal low-point on the album. Hearing a band so capable of playing crushing, vicious, and unpredictable rock n' roll reduced to turning out something so bouncy, warm, and fuzzy puts a damper on the rest of the album, despite the fact that there are some quality tunes to follow. “Start Your Digging,” is an oppressive and pummeling rocker that evokes the darker sounds of Head for the Shallow. Also, the closer “Another Beautiful Day in the Northwest,” is washed in lush psychedelic atmosphere that successfully evokes images of the location named in the song's name. It's not what you'd typically expect to hear from Big Business, but it's as successful as it is unexpected.
That's not to say the band has settled down and softened. In fact, I don't think Big Business have consciously tried to change their sound at all. They still sound like Big Business and songs like “Shields” and “Hands Up,” despite being largely predictable, could have easily been found on Head for the Shallow without totally diminishing the quality. Maybe it's a lack of fresh ideas, the dulling effect provided by the more polished production, or a combination of both; but Here Come the Waterworks just isn't as exciting as I was hoping it would be.
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