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Bigbang - Topic

Edendale Play

Developing American rock bands often can be too cool to fit themselves deliberately into pop/rock traditions, preferring to take a noncommercial approach by going lo-fi on their sound or employing odd song structures for that indie cred. Outside the U.S., bands don't necessarily bother with such pretensions, and may even feel that taking a traditional approach is a good thing. Certainly, Norwegian singer/songwriter/guitarist Øystein Greni, who operates under the band name Bigbang, doesn't mind playing in a style strongly reminiscent of classic Anglo-American pop/rock. (Bigbang has had changing personnel. Here, Greni is joined by bass player Nikoli Eilertsen and drummer Olaf Olsen.) Most of the time, he rocks about as hard as the Stevie Nicks/Lindsey Buckingham version of Fleetwood Mac, and he no doubt would not be upset at being mentioned in the same sentence with them. The songs on Edendale are full of attractive, prominent guitar parts supported by a propulsive rhythm section, making for melodic pop/rock, over which Greni sings lyrics in which the choruses are never far away. The only slightly uncommercial aspect of the sound is his tenor voice, which might be described as similar to Ray Davies with a slight case of laryngitis; the music seems to suggest a better vocalist, especially when the vocals are mixed up front. Perhaps realizing this, Greni often augments himself with background harmony singing, but his voice remains the weak element in what is otherwise engaging contemporary pop/rock. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi

From Acid to Zen Play

Norway's music scene is known for a wide variety of things, ranging from Occult-obsessed black metal to bubblegum dance-pop to avant-garde jazz to traditional Norwegian folk. But one thing that doesn't immediately come to mind when Norway is mentioned is roots rock, which has been a largely North American phenomenon. However, largely North American doesn't mean exclusively North American, and Big Bang is a good example of a Norwegian roots rock/rock & roll power trio that has had a very North American-influenced sound. Those North American leanings are impossible to miss on From Acid to Zen, which draws on influences that include Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, the Allman Brothers, and Neil Young. That is not to say that there aren't British influences as well on this 2008 release (among them, Bad Company and Cream), and it isn't the least bit surprising that a roots rock threesome would have both North American and British inspirations when one considers how much North American rock and British rock have influenced each other over the years. From Acid to Zen isn't the least bit groundbreaking, but if this 38-minute CD is derivative, it is enjoyably derivative -- and Øystein Greni's lead vocals are inspired and heartfelt on material ranging from the psychedelic-flavored "Hurricane Boy" to the soul-tinged "My First Time" to the moody "From a Distance." From Acid to Zen, which was recorded in both Oslo, Norway, and Philadelphia, doesn't pretend to reinvent the wheel, but it is a consistently satisfying example of what Scandinavia has to offer when it comes to earthy, unpretentious roots rock. ~ Alex Henderson, Rovi

Too Much Yang Play

Perhaps due to the increasing sterility of rock records circa the early 21st century, more and more new bands are going back and rediscovering recordings of a bygone era, when bands actually (gasp!) recorded live together, and didn't rely on ProTools fiddling to correct every little bloody mistake. To a degree, Bigbang is one such band, as their music brings to mind such classic rockers as R.E.M., Tom Petty (especially evident in singer Øystein Greni's vocals), and even a dash of blues-rock thrown in for good measure. That being said, while the Scandinavian band's 2007 release, Too Much Yang, is certainly based in roots rock, it is processed through a modern, glossy production -- resulting in an album that doesn't sound too far off from the likes of the Wallflowers and Fastball. What you get is a hodge-podge of tough rockers (the album-opening title track), lazy Stones-y replicas ("I Don't Wanna"), chimey guitars ("All the Time"), and a few acoustic ballads ("A Thousand Times Over"). Too Much Yang should have no problem appealing to fans of mainstream adult rock; in other words, there's nothing all that groundbreaking here. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi

Electric Psalmbook Play

BigBang's first official album release is a fairly varied affair, ranging from the jangly, late-'60s pop of opener "Wild Bird," to the gutsy blues-rock of "How Do You Do?," and the tender soulful ballad "In Love With You." There are several great songs on this album, no doubt, but the production is rather unimaginative and plain. Greni is a gifted songwriter and a fine guitarist, but as a singer, he is somewhat limited and sometimes sounds like he tries to emulate a Delta bluesman without really succeeding. Still, this is a good album. The instrumental workout "Major Pronin" gives the listener a taste of their great playing skills, and "Long Distance Man," a Neil Young-ish ballad, finds them at their most thoughtful. ~ Anders Kaasen, Rovi
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