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by Ryan Snyder

reviews of local & state music CDs

the big something Stories From the Middle of Nowhere

Though a debut release in the literal sense, the Big Something’s new release Stories From the Middle of Nowhere isn’t the first release from this talented sextet. Known as Anonymous, and later as the Anonymous Band, in a previous life their debut EP The Handout was a slick and sonically rich nugget of homemade jammy goodness. When they went into the studio to record their first full-length, their experience with Grammynominated producer John Custer was so enriching that it drove them to look at the band and its music in an entirely different way. Thus, they changed their name to the Big Something and the change from EP to LP is evident. Custer, who’s know most for his work with Raleigh metal band Corrosion of Conformity and being a master arranger, was given another talented group and has worked his magic yet again. Primarily driven by the combination of guitar, synth and sax, the Big Something offer a complexly interwoven series of grooves marked by rich and sonorous mixes. The recurring theme with most groove-heavy improvisational groups is that vocals are almost always going to be slightly quirky and while that’s occasional this case with lead singer and rhythm guitarist Nick MacDaniels, the warmth of his voice consistently comes through as its strongest quality. Lyrically, he provides strong hooks while leaving the focus on the band’s instrumental proficiency. They’re often humorous and pointed, as is found on the material about the recurring Robin Hood-like character of “Pinky Goes to Jail,” “Pinky’s Woman” and Pinky’s Ride,” which serves as a bonus since it’s the relentless jams like “Josh’s Disco” that really drive the album.

76/100 The Big Something will perform this Friday at The Blind Tiger with the Mantras and Funkuponya.

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