From the word go on their second release, Love Note, the Big Silver boys prove just how fucking awesome they are. There’s really no other way to put it. Love Note, with all its No Depression twangy goodness, eclipses in seconds the genre’s supposed leaders in Old 97s, Wilco, et al. The album is filled with song after song just waiting to get you up and jumping or down in the dumps, at once surprisingly joyful and horribly sad. And it’s perfect. Yes, perfect.
A modern mix of country, rock, blues and power-pop, Love Notes‘s roots lie firmly in the South — there’s absolutely no pretense, no attempt to court varied markets, just honest, down home and delicate, with expert musicianship and killer writing. The album bursts with drama, lilts on the love songs and downright raises the roof when it really gets going. There’s little not to completely adore on this album from the deserved winners of the recent Arkansas Times Musician’s Showcase award for “Best Original Band in Arkansas”.
Album opener, “Moment” demonstrates in a swift two minutes and 44 seconds just what makes Big Silver so enjoyable. The melody sweeps you off your feet straight away and the cute — but ultimately affecting — tale of rebound relationships is so completely charming, it’s impossible not to instantly fall in love with it.
And it just keeps going. Even shorter than “Moment”, “Loved to Hate” has just as wondrous a story as its predecessor and an even more addictive melody. The song flies by in just over two minutes making way for the first pause from the butt-thumping country pump fuelling much of the record, for lusty ballad, “The Slowdance”. The band lingers a little while on this one taking a bit more time to tell a tale more detailed than those in “Moment” and “Loved to Hate” but no less intricate.
Big Silver’s intricacies come via singer and principle writer Isaac Alexander’s gorgeous storytelling that while so fitting and seemingly so easy, are never forced. “I still have the note you wrote / On the day you ruined my life”, he sings on the ode to love-gone-wrong, “Boomerang”. “I’m looking at a black and white photograph”, he goes on to say, “And you still look good though it’s torn in half”. These deliciously tragic moments set to music almost always upbeat, make Alexander’s songs even more striking.
He continues to create elegant and easily relatable vignettes in “Alright to Cry” (“Someone told me that they saw your face / With another on a fire escape / I know that was not you / Someone told me that they saw your car / The other night at the corner bar / I know that’s not true”), “Rock and Roll Dreams” (“I don’t want to be famous / Just a little attention / There ain’t no hiding the truth / People dancing to the drumbeats / Shaking in the stadium seats / Everybody but you”), and “The Girl Who Loves (The Boy Who Lies)” (“She’s a sucker for a sinner / An interpreter of dreams / Alive in a nightmare / But she never went to sleep”).
These are original and inviting tunes, each delivered with a loose and thrilling feel, injected with power and charisma. The band take No Depression/alt.country and wrap it up in a pop-based battering of fun. And, at a short and sharp 40 minutes, there’s not too long to wait to go back and here it all over again.