Big Eyes

Almost Famous

If the musical evolution of Kate Eldridge is anything to go on, apparently living on the West Coast has something of a mellowing effect on a person. Back when she was living in New York, the vocalist/guitarist was all spitfire energy, leading her former band Cheeky to nitro-fueled pop-punk glory. She has since relocated to Seattle and the move has shaved off some of the more prickly edges of her musical attack. Make no mistake, Big Eyes rock and rock well, but this time around Eldridge is comfortable slowing the tempos down to a glammy/garage-rock stomp and giving the listeners a peck and a caress instead of a bite and a slap.

The only carryover is the way Eldridge delivers these songs. She still has a voice that seems custom made for rock music. Within it, you'll find a sassy whip crack akin to Mary Wells of the Shangri-Las mixed with the contemptuous swagger that Joan Jett and Brody Dalle do so well. It's a potent combination especially when sprinkled atop her fuzzed-up guitar work and the unflinching drive of Big Eyes' rhythm section.

The songs on Almost Famous stick to the reliable rock template that we know and adore. The longest track barely jumps over the three-and-a-half minute mark. The lyrics address everyone's favorite concerns of love and lust, romance and heartbreak, losing a lover or telling him to get lost. It breaks no new ground, but it doesn't have to. The path has already been laid and mapped out by Big Eyes' peers. Just enjoy the show while they strut down the lane, blowing kisses and providing kiss offs to the sound of sturdy power chords.

Grave Mistake

“Losing Touch”