Big Dick – s/t

The funny thing is, seeing a band with a name like Big Dick instantly conjured pre-conceived sounds and notions in my head – that they were raw, hard-drinking and hard-partying; eschewing a sleazy amped-up sexuality and that for whatever reason they were most probably Australian. Okay, I was wrong about them being Australian; in fact Big Dick operate out of Ontario, Canada, but the rest of my pre-conceptions fit rather well with the dancey, sweat-drenched noise rock that this bass and drums duo specialize in. Obviously, any bass and drums duo will have to try very hard in order to distance themselves from the dirty, funked-up sex-punk of the emphatically brilliant Death From Above 1979, a hard feat to achieve when the only tools at your disposal are the same four-strings and drum kit. But Big Dick remain heavily indebted to them, hanging around amidst the no mans land between pastiche and homage with many tracks such as ‘Witchcraft’ containing hugely funky bass riffs that could easily have been pinched from a Death From Above B-side or any cut from You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine for that matter. But Big Dick are not simply second-rate copyists, although at times they certainly lean heavily in that direction. Running parallel to their furious funk is a strain of scuzzy and uncompromising noise, taking cues from 90’s underground acts who focused on creating the ugliest and most deprived music their instruments could handle. The lo-fi production leaves the whole record engulfed in an inviting layer of warm fuzz that is omnipresent on the record’s sonic peripherals. Tracks such as ‘Colours’, where the sludge is laid on thick, the riffs resolutely Neanderthal and the vocals shriek in such disregard for the throat that vocal chords are left in tatters, remain the standout excursions of the album. Other tracks such as ‘Mayday’ are driven by a relentless punk urgency, with the duo emanating all the hyperactive ferocity of ravenous coke-fiends, intent on hammering through the song as quick as their limbs can carry them so they can gain their next well deserved fix. The album is also far from a one-dimensional shriekathon or straight-up freak-out of relentless bass bashing and drum destroying. Whereas the band flirts tentatively with melody on some tracks, they drop their aggression totally on ‘Anti-social’ and allow a softer touch over every part of their sound. But they veer from the warpath only briefly, and the return to aurally destructive territory is swift and doesn’t let up again until the album is over.

Despite penning some genuinely thrilling, visceral and groove-laden songs, the similarity to Death From Above may be too overwhelming for many. On the other hand, the sonic territory that Death From Above exploded into has left a void and an underground clamouring for sweaty, exhilarating and dirty punk suitable for house parties and for providing the soundtrack to alcohol-induced vomiting. They may be brash and derivative of a number of easily pinpointed influences, but Big Dick are the perfect band to have playing in your front room as bodies fly and the police are knocking on the front door and shouting threats of arrest through the letterbox.

3.5 out of 5 high fives!

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