You hear that thing in the introduction, that instrument that establishes both the ambiance and the melody with its crunchy electric drive? That’s a guitar. And you know what you do with a guitar? You either play it (if you’re in the band) or you listen to it (if you’re not in the band). This guitar you’re hearing doesn’t need you to remix it or loop it or make an app out of it. It’s just a terrific power-poppy-punky guitar part, with a strong lineage (hear “Starry Eyes” in it, a little? not to mention any number of Cheap Trick songs?) and a good heart. Listen and love it and don’t forget that listening—really listening—is as interactive an activity as there is.
Front woman Kate Eldridge, formerly in a band called Cheeky, has a really effective DIY-ish voice—forceful, maybe even a little bratty, unschooled, but not (praise the lord) out of tune, and not so muddied up in the mix that you can’t sense the personality behind the voice. This is a little kid’s plea, after all—“Why can’t I…?”—and yet there’s more happening here than may first meet the ear. Yes, Eldridge’s slightly snotty tone creates the surface impression that she is, little-kid-ishly, asking after something she feels entitled to but isn’t getting. But check out the pivotal lyric: “Sometimes you make me so mad/All I want to do is treat you bad/Baby now why can’t I just love you all the time?” She’s really wondering about that deeper thing that drives people who love each other into opposing camps. She sees her own limitations; her “why can’t I” isn’t railing against her external circumstances as much as her internal ones. This laces her brashness with a vulnerability that informs all three minutes and twenty-three seconds of this spiffy piece of good old rock’n’roll.
Big Eyes are a trio from Brooklyn. They have released a tape (yes, a tape), and a 7-inch single prior to this, their latest 7-inch single, issued earlier this month by Don Giovanni Records. The band’s debut LP is due out in May.