This is a review of "A Small Drop In The Ocean" recorded by The Big Blue. The review was written by Russell Leeming in 2006.
Summer is here. It’s a beautiful Wednesday morning so naturally I am sat indoors playing Pro Evolution Soccer 5 - the “international cup” [come on EA hand over the licence] quarter final against Brazil. The tension is rising when bang the postman arrives.
Yes!! Finally Boomity has sent me my eBay items!
Or not… But a CD? For me? Oh, how nice. The Big Blue? Sounds like that kids programme with the clinically obese bear who sings to the moon… ah, what’s this? ARTWORK!!!
As Ronaldinho equalises I begin to lose interest and insert the CD, to undertake my first LMS review.
This seven-lap circuit begins with the appropriately titled “In the Beginning”, and like a Formula One driver in his first race, nerves are building – this could determine whether I am the Katayama or Schumacher of LMS. Thankfully, The Big Blue make my life easy. So far, “In the Beginning” reminds me of the small snippets of Anthony & the Johnsons I have heard. There is also the warmth of Arcade Fire, with the strings and backing singers sounding, I’m sure similar to how the Canadians would sound if they performed a stripped down set or an MTV unplugged type of performance.
“Allen’s Waltz” is more immediate and as a result sits perfectly as track two. Singer Rich Wheater’s voice is heartfelt as well as bold as he sings an interesting mix of lyrics over a bouncy waltz musical arrangement: “I was charged with trespassing/From fear of her last boyfriend”.
More influences are apparent by track three “Older”, the highlight of the seven tracks. Similarities to Bright Eyes and Belle and Sebastian are evident here, which makes it all the more remarkable that the song still sounds fresh and unique. “Stay Where You Are” sees Wheater adept an Ian McCullach type vocal, which manages to sound tired and uplifting all at the same time, but without the scousemasters cigarette abused strain.
Just as “Something New” begins I get the dreaded call and begin my evening as a supermarket fishmonger. Damn. I was almost actually enjoying myself. But fresh from cod loins and having to deal with the general public for five hours I sit back down. Unlucky, The Big Blue, you almost had it there but you still have a job to do.
One minute and nineteen seconds into “Something New” that task is made harder when a huge spider runs into view beside my door. However, as a female voice hypnotically tells me “we are your circle of love”, I begin to drift into a world that can only be described as… err… nice. Joy (whoa there!!) also begins to creep in and stays with me throughout the remaining two tracks – “Never Leave” which is a beautiful piano and string led ballad and “Bay and The Ocean” (“Ocean you’re the vulture around my island”), another song where Wheater showcases his vocal range and strength. If the singer from Athlete could actually sing and declared an orgy on Fran Healy and Ian McCullach, this is how he would sound. Possibly.
The Big Blue then. Shit all over that cake loving bear who sings to the moon. If I had any criticisms it would be that this doesn’t represent my favoured musical taste, but that wouldn’t be fair. How can anything this joyous compete with The Smiths or Radiohead? For a relatively inexperienced act on their second EP, the results are staggeringly consistent, thus making all the hard work worthwhile.
For the record, my night long psychological battle with the spider ended in defeat. And, as for Pro Evo… well, do England ever win on penalties?