- by Chris Crane
I haven't listened to much of Big Eyes' other work, but whether or not you're familiar with them, "Stake My Claim" is well worth your time.
I’m not gonna try to subgenre this. It’s Punk. I wouldn’t quite call it pop punk in the same way I don’t like to call Descendents pop punk; it’s more serious and musically a bit more sophisticated. It’s a little on the slow side, but it’s still got drive, and in general I feel like the combination of the guitar sound and singer Kait Eldridge’s vocals give it a slightly dark tone.
The title track's got a good dark droney feel to it, occasionally punctuated by a splash of power before settling back into its groove. I feel like it would be great backing the opening credits sequence on a TV show. (Industry people, get on that). The next few songs strike a perfect balance of melancholy and optimism, "Just not Right" especially. The music is a straightforward foundation for the thoughtful lyrics, and the key changes hit just right to drive the point home. With each subsequent listen I liked this song more. If you've ever moved on from something that just wasn't...well, right, you'll find something in this. Things brighten up a bit more through the next few songs "Leave This Town" and "When You Were 25" have great pop sensibility, and the latter is just a really well built song, you can't help but rock along to it.
This album really feels like a whole package and not just a handful of songs. It makes an early statement, digs a little deeper, builds up and hits harder to back up the staked claim, as it were, and rides out on a confident high while still respecting the journey. The songwriting is strong, though "Cheerleader" and "Count The Pegs" don't do much for me. I'm really feeling Kait’s vocals. She brings her strength to this band and the band is fully there reinforcing it, with solid garagey production value keeping it grounded and edgy.
I didn't think I'd end up liking this so much, but Big Eyes have done a great job putting this together. I'm going to reiterate the quality of "Just Not Right" listen to that and try not to feel something. I'm gonna go back and listen to their earlier stuff now.