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Big Life: Big Life

Big Life are a new name on the UK melodic rock scene, although the two main protagonists have certainly seen action before. Playing all the instruments bar drums on the album is a certain Steve Newman of the band Newman and while Steve usually also handles vocals in his own band, this time he is joined by one time Praying Mantis frontman Mark Thompson-Smith.

Not too surprisingly the debut Big Life album sounds a fair bit like a Newman album, but with a different singer! However there are also a few new elements added to Steve's song writing and hearing his unmistakably catchy and memorable hooks and choruses sung by a vocalist with a slightly huskier, gruffer attack also adds a different focus to the music. That said, as with the newest Newman album The Art Of Balance, if you are looking for instantly hook laden melodic rock that just gets better with each listen, then Big Life will be right up your street. Newman himself seems really fired up on this release, with his guitar work matching the best he has ever done, whether that being the ultra catchy riff, but always melodic "Close To You", or the more impassioned "Deep Water", which falls into the power ballad category. As for Thompson-Smith, well it is impossible to tell that he really hasn't been performing since a short, successful stint with The Sweet in 2005, with his rasping, yet smooth tones punching through the music with authority and with the more than considerable vocal talent of Newman to act as backup vocalist, the two make a killer combination! Rob McEwan, who has impressed on the last couple of Newman albums brings his assertive drumming style to the album and it is his rock solid beats that allows the likes of the mid-paced "Better Man" to bounce along with an airy melodic thump.

Of the harder hitting numbers, there really isn't a track that lets this album down, with the menacing shout along of "Takin' Me Down" and the smooth, yet guitar led AOR of "Feel Alive" being real highlights. Better than both of them though is insistently memorable "Calling", which has the catchiest guitar hook I've heard all year and is in fact the strongest slab of melodic rock I've heard for quite some time. As with many albums these days, the only real complaint I have with Big Life is that it is maybe one or two tracks too long and while every song on this disc has its merits, things do get a little bogged down in slower tracks towards the end of the album. That however is more a case of nit-picking rather than highlighting any real deficiency here, as the standard really is universally high throughout.

In a genre that has grown from strength to strength over the last couple of years the standard of releases just seems to be getting better and better and with their self titled debut Big Life have announced themselves as real serious contenders.

Track Listing
1. Dying Day
2. Close To You
3. Better Man
4. Calling
5. I'll Still Be Here
6. Feel Alive
7. Deep Water
8. At The End Of My Rainbow
9. Leaves
10. Stop In Time
11. Takin' Me Down
12. Nothing Without You

Added: April 17th 2011
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Big Life Official Web Site
Hits: 3020
Language: english

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