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Big 10-4
Testing The Atmosphere
Republic Universal Records

Big 10-4's debut album Testing The Atmosphere is a picture of album oriented rock. Each selection keeps in the vibe of modern rock energy with penetrating guitar hooks and freehand vocal rises that resound above the ruptures of the arrangements. The mix is thickened by combining electric with acoustic. Piano interludes, violin psalms, and acoustic guitar strips merge with the electric frequencies. The raw edges of the vocal tones have a likeness to Brad Arnold of Three Doors Down with a sonic voicing comparable to Third Eye Blind and Matchbox 20, and a natural pitch reminiscent of Tom Petty.

The album begins with a selection of mid-tempo numbers characterized by drum fills led by the beating movements of the vocal melodies which ebb and flow with a natural spring. "Walking Disaster" wafts with treatments of guitar garnishes that overflow the melodic folds and catchy lyrical verses that shout above the whipping instrument sequences. "Long Night" indulges the listener with engaging guitar hooks and intense vocal swills that stretch wide and resonate with the audience pulling them to join in the procession.

There is a procession-like feel in tracks like "Tangled", whose intro of a piano runner is deluged by twines of guitar lobes and drum notches along the vocal lines. The vocal melodies direct the tempo and grooves in the songs, similarly to Dave Matthews of DMB. The song "Super Powers" embodies spirited guitar plexuses and muscular vocals that elevate above the rippling sea of instrument vibrations.

"Crazy" and "Hold That Thought" blend electric vibratos with undertones of acoustic strings creating pivots along the chord progressions and producing dynamic movements through the passages. The vocals punch in unison with the drum beats in a bursting effect while being multi-tracked in certain parts manufacturing an echoing shot that fulminates through the transitions. "Undertow" races with heighten guitar swerves and intricate chord crisscrosses. The vocal movements dictate the course and pace of the instrument drives. "Long Distance" works by building up tones then compressing the volume to a sibilant breath before building back up.

The final track "Oxygen", the most talked about track on the band's myspace.com page, is as close as Big 10-4 comes to a pure ballad with a grand sonic crescendo in the bridge before exiting the song. The piano chords wattle as the violins drift steadily and the vocals cry out: "I love to watch you sleep/ Roll over and steal the sheets/ Your body beckons me/ And sleep tightly in those dreams/ 'Cause you're so pure/ That way/ Yeah, cause you're so perfect/ That way/ 'Cause I found oxygen/ In you/ I breath you like Oxygen/ I do"

Big 10-4's songs have a natural flowing rhythm as the vocals rise and sink while pulling the melodic processions of strings, keyboards, and throbbing guitar textures. The vocals have a resolve that's on the brink of being beer drenched - that point after two beers when you're still sober enough to be lucid but your inhibitions have been subdued enough to allow you to be forward about your weaknesses and vulnerabilities with a pensive vision. The songs speak about human vulnerabilities, fears, and insecurities with an uplifting vibe in the music and vocal spirit.

Big 10-4 consists of Daniel Verduin (lead vocals, piano, guitar), Matthew Verduin (lead guitar), James Russo (drums), and Matthew Reid (bass). Their debut LP Testing The Atmosphere was produced by Matt Wallace (Maroon 5, Train) and fuels an energetic rock drive with melodic phrases.

-Susan Frances

Track Listing:
1) Walking Disaster
2) Long Night
3) Irony Is Thick
4) Deadman
5) Tangled
6) Super Powers
8) Hold That Thought
9) Undertow
10) Long Distance
11) Smell of Familiar
12) Oxygen

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