|Bigelf - 'Cheat The Gallows' (Powerage Records)|
|Written by Rob Watkins|
|Friday, 02 October 2009 10:35|
'Roll up, Roll up', to the progressive, psychedelic and retro-charm musical extravagance of Bigelf.
The charcoal eyed and bearded gang staring out from the cover had me thinking "oh fuck, Uber Rock's sent me some black metal, goth, industrial, stuff to review here", how wrong could I be? Well, ummm, very, very wrong.
Immediate comparisons spring to mind, Roger Glover's 1974 concept album 'The Butterfly Ball' interwoven with slices of Pink Floyd and 70's Canadian trio Klaatu.
'The Gravest Show On Earth' kicks things off with a mixture of the aforementioned Butterfly Ball, the rather splendid Jellyfish and hints of Coheed and Cambria, but with Bigelf stamped all over it. 'Blackball' could have been lifted directly off side two of any Charisma label band from around 1971 onwards, whilst 'Money It's Pure Evil', my personal favourite track off 'Cheat The Gallows' successfully twists Pink Floyd and the Beatles into the Big Elf top hat of musical discovery.
Elsewhere with 'Superstar' again I go back to Klaatu but the sugar sweet seventies melody is hugely reminiscent of Imperial Drag a band I long since lament for, and has me reaching for a nearby Kleenex (to wipe my teary eye, you perverts).
With the massive soundscapes on offer here Bigelf would feel totally at home playing to one of those Festivals we all viewed black and white photos of way back when 200,000 people gate crashed the chicken wire fences supposed to keep them out.
Such naïve and innocent times eh?
Nothing so naive about the Hammond driven 'Hydra' that has touches of certain shade of purple and I half expect a certain Mr. Coverdale to come bouncing out of my speakers. As this album start to unfolds in your head like some Twelfth Night album sleeve I'm sure that like me you'll be totally sold on Bigelf.
So, when Eleven minute plus, final track 'Counting Sheep' glides in on a classic Gilmour-esque vocal line you too will be thinking 'is that a pig in the sky again'.
Bigelf also boast the songwriting genius Linda Perry as not only their US label boss but as backing vocalist to two tracks here, and I have to simply wonder at the possible co-writes this may bring us in the future, who knows?
If you can cast aside my memory lane trip of a review for a moment and remember that this is very much 2009, this album bodes well as a modern classic for the prog rock genre. I suppose the biggest compliment I could make after hearing this album is that I very shall be submersing myself in the Bigelf back catalogue, very soon.