“Not Art” by Big Scary

January 28. 2014 | By Jason Martinez


Big Scary
Not Art
[Barsuk Records]

From shoegaze to sound collage, Melbourne, Australia’s Big Scary are unafraid to experiment on their second album, Not Art. Big Scary’s two strongest approaches are in the ‘90s-esque slacker rock of the building, anthemic opener, “Hello, My Name Is,” and the funky, electronic piano-based tracks like “Luck Now.” It’s in these two areas where Tom Iansek and Joanna Syme find the sweet spot on par with the best of yesterday or today. “Phil Collins” ironically doesn’t sound like the man himself, but is rather more indebted to the Jesus and Mary Chain. “Twin Rivers” and “Invest” are two tracks where all their strengths combine, mixing in eclectic rhythms with catchy piano hooks. Iansek takes on the bulk of vocal duties, and while he reaches a Jeff Buckley-ish falsetto on “Lay Me Down,” Syme matches him on “Harmony Sometimes,” sounding like she’s been working overtime at the lamentation factory. “Final thoughts, With Tom and Jo” is a gorgeous closer, setting deceptively fast piano atop lush harmonies. Some of their ideas don’t work quite as well – “Why Hip Hop Sucks in ‘13” feels overindulgent and about two minutes too long – but for the most part they do, and damn well.

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