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.
1) Walking Disaster
2) Long Night
3) Irony Is Thick
6) Super Powers
8) Hold That Thought
10) Long Distance
11) Smell of Familiar
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