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The Bigger Lights
Fiction Fever
Doghouse Records
www.doghouserecords.com


The attention span of an average audience member is about 30 secs. You've got half a minute to convince said random person that your music is worth committing more time. So it's no surprise that the industry as a whole seems to be leaning more and more towards the shorter version of an album, otherwise known as an EP. If you can snag someone for the 3 minutes of a song, then you're next goal is 6 tracks. After that, consider yourself "in." Therefore one of the most recent industry additions by the name of The Bigger Lights have got their introduction set correctly. They haven't bothered with a full LP, instead they're giving you a taste one EP at a time.

Their latest EP Fiction Fever has grabbed the attention of label Doghouse Records, and once you give the EP a listen you will see why someone thought these four guys would be worth their time (and money). The album is pretty much what you'd expect from a pop-rock quartet with tempos that are consistently upbeat, lyrics that are on average uplifting and energy that is never in short supply. In the song "Reved And Ready" they take that energy and twist it in a bit of an alternative direction, by lowering the vocals to a more raw level. The slightly darker tones to the lyrics beg comparison to the abuse-themed huge hit "Face Down" by fellow pop-rockers The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. "Romance In A Slow Dance" is another attempt at the band showing us they can do more than teeny-bopper tunes. This one could be classified as a love ballad. The ballad characteristics: lyrics written from a broken heart, the tempo is slowed down a tad and a few random introductions of choir-esque harmonies.

I honestly didn't think I would have a favorite on this album, but then the song "Goldmine Valentine" came on. The beginning is so distinctive and different that you'd swear your stereo switched CDs on you. The piano and the slightly haunting vocals instantly remind me of the musical genius heard from The Used. And the fact that there's even a hint of comparison between these 2 bands should make your curiosity go crazy. The chorus takes back the pop influence we've previously heard and manages to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Overall, the song isn't much different than the rest of the album, but those new elements at the beginning cause this one to stick in my head.

Staying true to the pop-rock, they end the EP with "When Did We Lose Ourselves." It's three and half minutes of vocals pitched up near the top and guitars that, though they may occasionally strum out a rock chord or two, tend to stick to light and airy tones.

On first listen, I would've given this band their 30 seconds and probably disregarded them in less time, placing the "just another pop-rock band" label on them. But I've been trained that sometimes you won't really "hear" a band unless you actually listen. This is a prime example. And if I were them, I'd keep on putting out EP's; keep everyone wanting just a little bit more.

-Rachel Fredrickson

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