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album review: big deal, lights out

The first time I read the email to review Big Deal’s new album Lights Out, I was slightly put off because of their name (ironic? Almost worse if it’s not), but I agreed to check them out after doing a quick Google search on the band name. I found out that Big Deal has been praised as a “band to watch” in 2011 and 2012 from sources as large as NME and The Guardian to smaller websites like one of my personal favorite sources for finding new music, We All Want Someone To Shout For.

Upon first listen, it’s clear that Big Deal duo Alice Costelloe and Kacey Underwood perfectly know how to harmonize and achieve that boy-girl feel similar to that of Cults or Matt and Kim. But Big Deal really will be a big deal because their musical abilities (with just voice and guitar!) and masterful production technique makes them more than just the couple at the coffee shop with two acoustic guitars. The layered guitarwork and combined slide/electric feel on songs like “Chair”, “Homework”, “Locked Up” and personal favorite “With the World at My Feet” separates this band from the millions of others.

The songs that stand out to me the most are “Swoon”, “Summer Cold”, “Seraphine” and “Pi” because male vocalist Kacey Underwood takes the lead compared to the rest of the album, which is led by female vocalist Alice Costelloe.

The honest lyrics of all the intimate dream pop relationship-y  songs on Lights Out also really resonate. The chorus of “Cool Like Kurt” reflects a lot of the feelings that come along with being twenty-something and navigating being young and single: “Take me to your bed / Don’t take me home / I wanna be old / I wanna be older / Take me to your bed / Don’t take me home / Before this oh / Before this is over”.  Mid-way through the album on “Talk”, one of Big Deal’s more raw songs, the message communicated is “All I wanna do is talk / But seeing you fucks me up”. I mean, who hasn’t felt like that at one point of a relationship or another?

Big Deal perfectly navigates the line between good indie pop-rock and emotional shoegaze. As the mainstream becomes increasingly aware of this talented duo, it’s safe to say that they have, in fact, appropriately named themselves.

Lights Out is available worldwide now.

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