big-deal-lights-out

Playing the guitar is like paying taxes – only the ballsy don’t bother doing it, happy not to feverishly grab at acoustic stringed things at parties to play ‘Smoke On The Water’ again. More guitar players means more bands, and more bands has proven to mean less variety. And so those serious about the instrument have tussled to make it sound new ever since the advent of recorded sound. But while everyone’s been looking one way, feeding pickups through delay pedals and switchboards, swamping power chords with electronics and other instruments, London duo Big Deal have de-cluttered, and in doing so have made a guitar album that sounds like few others.

Other than the angelic, forlorn vocals of Alice Costelloe and the complimentary tones of Kacey Underwood, ‘Lights Out’ is made up of two guitars and nothing else. One might gently fuzz with distortion every now and then, but they’re never joined by bass or a drumkit – certainly not. It’s as if each track is a three and a half minute long intro – just as you expect the band to crash in it ends, making way for another sad song about boys and girls. It’s extremely arresting, even more personable and fiercely brave. And whilst ‘Lights Out’ is no jolly affair, it’s sense of adolescent pain prevents it from being as harrowing as, say, Laura Marling or Ryan Adams. The songs are called things like ‘Cool Like Kurt’, giving them a playful, knowing quality that’s emotionally charge like a US teen soap. It’s an album of young love, and we all know how silly young love is.

Previous single ‘Talk’ remains the bands best song, pitched in the middle of an album that, unsurprisingly, does begin to sound like it’s repeating itself, although not as soon as you’d think. It’s a track that claims, “All I wanna do is talk/but seeing you fucks me up.” Such simplicity sums up what makes Big Deal and their guitars so encapsulating. ‘Lights Out’ is one of those why-didn’t-someone-think-of-this-already moments.

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