New rule, bands: Fire your guitarist, immediately! Think of the savings and extra van space. Plus, Big Business has just proven the instrument to be obsolete with their fantastic new album Command Your Weather.
The group’s fifth full-length record finds the founding duo of bassist / vocalist Jarred Warren and drummer Coady Willis operating without a guitarist for the first time since their 2005 debut Head for the Shallow. There’s very little wrong with 2013’s Battlefields Forever or especially 2009’s Mind the Drift, let’s be clear. But this is better. Removing that one ever-so-slightly cluttering piece of the formula and shifting away from a more traditional lineup offers a purer display of the talents and chemistry that makes Big Business so unique.
If you’re thinking that a whole album featuring just a rhythm section might get a little tedious, allow us to ease your mind. First off, don’t let anybody tell you this is slowed-down “sludge” rock. “People are always saying, ‘Sludge, sludge, sludge!,’” Willis recently told Noisey. “But our songs aren’t slow and sludgy. Most of them are pretty fast. And if you think about the song structure and the way Jared sings, we love pop music. We love metal. We love punk.”
The band also pushes the boundaries of what two people can accomplish in the studio and on stage with the help of octave generator pedals, blossom bells and by having Warren trade his bass for a keyboard (think “One Foot Out the Door,” not “Jump,” if I’m allowed to use Van Halen examples here) on the stomping seven-minute epic “Popular Demand.”
Add it all up and you’ve got a fast-paced collection of hard-hitting, extremely smart, catchy songs with massive hooks dramatically and dynamically filling up the entire sonic spectrum. The only thing more impressive might be how well they can do all this live, as we just saw for ourselves during their storming set at Cleveland’s Grog Shop this past weekend. Buy this record and be sure to go see Big Biz if they play in your hometown.