Parading are readying a new record for Lost and Lonesome, but in the meantime they’ve offered a cover of Paul Kelly’s “Big Heart.” Their take utilizes a similar opening moment with the guitar, though there’s more fragility in the vocals. As the song moves along, they muddy it up with more texture than you’ll hear on the classic version. They add in an extra few bars of exploratory sound, which should come as no surprise to folks familiar with the band’s work. It’s Friday, and that means you should just listen to good tunes, so add this one to your list.
It’s been a bit since we’ve heard from Ski Lodge, and I’m glad to see the band’s return…I loved Big Heart. While their first effort seemed to hold tight to the realm of indiepop, they look to go with a smoother, larger pop sound behind the efforts of main songwriter, Andrew Marr. You’ll still hear huge harmonies and melodies bursting forth, though in a different fashion…those touches have been polished to sound more like a band working in a hi-fi studio. The “Trust” 7″ will be available for pop fans on February 23rd.
Admittedly, I’m a huge indiepop fan, so Ski Lodge didn’t have to do too much to win me over. But, that being said, I was looking for consistency; I wanted Big Heart to be great through and through. Some records, sadly, fade off in the end. Lucky for me, and for you, Big Heart isn’t such an album; it’s consistent, consistently good.
“Anything to Hurt You” kicks things off right, bubbling and bouncing its way through, providing the perfect exuberance to balance out the soft croon of singer Andrew Marr. There’s bright guitar licks too, plucked furiously, as if Marr can’t quite catch up; it’s an interesting effect, and one that works out successfully here. Immediately following is “Boy,” which seems to have gotten lots of air-time and praise. My ears see this as a warmer indiepop nod, with a sprawling chorus that highlights the softer side of Ski Lodge‘s music. While I adore those mellow moments, I like when the band picks up the pace a bit.
There are several occasions when they do speed things up in just the right place on Big Heart, allowing for a change of pace. The first time comes after the two previously mentioned tracks with “Looking For a Change.” It might just be the way the guitars or played, or maybe it’s the drums, but there’s a new energy, although Marr’s vocals still provide that emotional pull fans will adore. They pull it off again later in the album by way of “Just to Be Like You.” The guitars here have a bit more of an angular approach, leading one to pull out your best Molly Ringwald dance moves before your bathroom mirror. Trust me, I did it.
Throughout, Ski Lodge seems to be scattered, but in a contained way. They’ve provided glowing indiepop, backed by joyful numbers, all leading into the beautiful closing number, “I Can’t Tell.” My first run through, I didn’t think this track fit. But, I’m wrong. It demonstrates the group’s willingness to push the boundaries of a genre that, while amazing, can grow a bit stale through excess exposure. Perhaps in closing the album, they’re giving us a picture of a future; I prefer to think of it as a statement of grandeur. The goal to reach pop perfection is loftier here, and much appreciated by this listener, serving as a moment of finality. Big Heart is over, and there’s no other way you could end this LP; it’s just perfect.
Ski Lodge seems to be riding the waves of praise from all over the place. First, they had the Internet buzz, then our friends Literature gave them the stamp of approval and we, of course, gave them our love after catching them over at Holy Mountain a few weeks back. They’ve finally locked down a firm date for the release of their album, Big Heart; it’s coming your way on August 20th via Dovecote Records. And, in honor of the announcement, they’re streaming another new track with it’s warm indie pop melodies and spirited guitar playing.