The Big Moon – Here is Everything Album Review
The Big Moon are what I believe are one of the UK’s most overlooked bands. The female four-piece were nominated for the 2017 Prospect Music Award, and their debut album, Love In The 4th Dimension was nominated for the Mercury Prize, and that’s when these guys caught my attention with their uniqueness and phenomenal knowledge of sound, alongside the two other side-bands from various members, Our Girl and Gently Tender. Walking Like We Do, the band’s sophomore album released three years later included one of my all-time favourite songs in the form of Your Light and had wonderful energy coming through the album, but lacked in parts where its predecessor succeeded, despite that, I still put the record on relatively often, and despite it not being on the album, their cover of Christmas carol Carol of the Bells by Ukrainian composers Mykola Leontovych and Peter J. Wilhousky was one of the best renditions I’ve heard, so much so that I couldn’t ignore it.
Now, the indie-rockers are about to release their anticipated third record, Here Is Everything, an album about pregnancy and motherhood, in which its two lead singles Wide Eyes and Trouble have promised a mature but playful album, celebrating the best of what it feels like starting a family. I’m a big fan of both of those singles, with my deeper analysis of both tracks incoming throughout the review, but based on these songs, I’ve never been more excited to review a record, and I hope that it doesn’t let me down.
The album’s opener 2 Lines is a pretty strong opening, its atmospheric surroundings paired alongside its excellent lyrics and production make it feel like a living daydream, and with the brilliant choir and backing vocals adding to the track’s texture, it feels like an incredible opener. Moving onto Wide Eyes, which is one of my favourite songs of the year (which will inevitably be added to my Songs of the Year list – coming soon!) has some of the best production and instrumentation I’ve heard this year, the little touches of the barely-audible count-in before the second verse kicks in make it even more sensational, the gorgeous synthesisers, undoubtedly added in by producer Jessica Winter, who is one of my favourites up and coming pop musicians right now, frontwoman Jules Jackson’s sensational lyrics and vocals and those backing vocals singing “I got it all” leading into a euphoric finale which triggers goosebumps down your spine and makes you want to dance in the rain like a gorgeous coming of age indie-movie. This song is sensational and symbolises the true joys and meanings of being a parent through its atmosphere and lyricism.
Daydreaming has a retro first verse, which I was initially unsure worked for the band the first time I heard it, but all of that doubt was put to bed when the chorus entered, assuring me that the song ultimately works. The careful instrumentation is orchestrated with such elegance and Jackson’s stunning vocals work even more so here, and the stripped-down final 20 seconds are an excellent touch to the song. Like Daydreaming, This Love was a song that I wasn’t immediately sure about, but as the track comes together, I feel the gorgeous soundscapes and the story being told in the song, which made me want to slap myself on the wrist thinking how I could ever doubt the band and their capabilities. The charming and dignified production feels mature yet surrounded by multiple elements that elevate the storytelling, and it’s a gorgeous song to listen to. Suckerpunch however is going back to the band’s old routes, as heard on the band’s debut, Love In The 4th Dimension, just with way more maturity, which I loved. It has the energy and vibe of that first record, but the lyricism that comes from a record such as Here Is Everything, yet it still has a 1960s American rock twang to it with a modern edge. Suckerpunch is a mix-match of a variety of sounds and fuses these elements together very very well.
Moving onto the first slower song on the record, My Very Best is a song that I believe is about maturity, growing up, and bonds as a fond farewell to your former self, showing you have bigger responsibilities in taking care of your offspring. It bodes as a promise to the narrator’s child to do their very best for them, and it’s fantastic. The lyricism is by far the best I’ve heard on any song this year, it takes a lot to feel a song lyrically, especially like how I did with My Very Best, and that lyricism is the real standout here. But the orchestration of the track works very well too, as even though it takes more of a backseat than it has done throughout the album thus far, it still has its moment towards the finale and works so well here, while the listener is still pondering and processing the songwriting that came before it. It’s a fantastic song and one I’m so glad I heard.
Ladye Bay is a nice song, it has some great instrumentation and is produced very well, but unfortunately, I didn’t think it had the same impact as the previous six tracks we’ve heard thus far. Its second part is much stronger than it’s first but still doesn’t match the potential I know these guys can give us, as the track feels flat in comparison. Moving onto Here Is Everything’s second single, Trouble is the heaviest the album gets during its duration and it works in so many ways. The band chemistry is phenomenal here and this is a fun, honest indie-rock song, that matches the theme of the record very well. Similarly to My Very Best, this is a swansong to the narrator’s (in this case, frontwoman Jules Jackson) teenage years, thinking how different they are now compared to what they used to be, it’s a great song and one that certainly makes you want to jump around.
High and Low is the album’s second slower song and talks about the darker side of parenting, and the verses of the song are fantastic lyrically, but unfortunately, I find the chorus incredibly cheesy and cliched with its similar-sounding rhythm way too comparable to other indie bands with lower capabilities than The Big Moon, which very much filters out the songs meaning for me, which is a great shame. For an album as sophisticated and strong as Here Is Everything and all of the highs it has brought us thus far, I’m afraid that despite me wanting to love High and Low, I just didn’t, and I find this a massive disappointment.
Magic is a track that as the proceeding song title denotes, has highs and lows. The highs were the chorus’ euphoric feeling, the xylophone in the bridge and the great potential the song has, the lows were the repetition of the word “magic” throughout the song, as well as the xylophone use in the first pre-chorus, which didn’t match the vibe of the track, and the potential the song had fading like black magic. The lows very much impacted the rest of the song for me, unfortunately, so it’s unlikely that I’ll go back to the song again unless I listen to the album in-full again (which I’m certain I will and will enjoy as I’m not listening to it on a critical level). Once the album’s finale, Satellites arrived, we have a gorgeous ballad which has some phenomenal lyricism and band chemistry, with the song orchestrated perfectly. It does what every final song on a record should do, but a lot of artists fail to utilise – round the album off perfectly and bring it to a close, showcasing everything brilliant about the album in the first place, and Satellites certainly did that.
So overall, Here Is Everything as an album is incredibly strong. Its narrative flows beautifully song by song, it’s a record that delivers big on quality, sophistication and orchestration. The vast majority of the tracks here feel very standalone but fit together perfectly when the record is played in full, exactly how an album should be. However, unfortunately, some tracks failed to live up to the satisfaction that the rest of the album did, but on the whole, it’s a fantastic record about the alacrity of parenthood and one that shouldn’t be overlooked.
My Very Best
The Big Moon have also announced a tour which you can read about here.