Go Big - The Story From Our Side (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Go Big

The Story From Our Side (2014)

self released

Bomb the Music Industry! left a void in many punx hearts. The recent announcement that the band was no more drew many a heartfelt goodbye by longtime fans that had been touched by Jeff Rosenstock and his rotating band of cohorts. Enter Go Big. The band, led by former BTMI member Jason Rutcofsky (vocals, piano, guitar, saxophone), packs a loud and gravelly (yet sweet) punch on their second self-released album (via bandcamp), The Story From Our Side.

The album opens with a bang. On the opening track, "Street Magic", Rutcofsky booms, "I can't sit down, I can't stand still" with the rest of the band coming just a second after the vocal. It's a boisterous start, and the urgency in Rutcofsky's voice forces the listener to sit up and take immediate notice. By the time the chorus hits, the rest of the band's voices have joined in, singing "You'll regret this all before too long." The sweet sound (a stark contrast to Rutcofsky's abrasive, yet melodic , growl) of Jessica Coen's (vocals, violin) singing provides a nice counterbalance /call and response touch as the song progresses.

Storytelling is where Go Big truly shines. "The Con Artist" assumes the voice of a man accused of "robbing the whole damn town blind." "Big Top Dale" narrates the tale of a hardscrabble circus worker who dreams of one day attaining the big-top stardom of the workers that he cleans up after. "Answer My Call" plays the male/female vocal tradeoff especially well, with one of a pair of lovers in trouble just past 3 AM. In each song, just as in life, the stories don't necessarily end so well for the people depicted.

This storytelling quality is undoubtedly one of Go Big's greatest strengths. The nine-member band (Willie Rutcofsky is credited simply as "Dog" – a key member in any band's lineup) takes the listener on a journey throughout each track without relying on the first person. By bringing characters to their songs, Rutcofsky and Co. are able to immerse the listener in an experience that is separate from anyone's ideas or politics, yet immediately relatable. Who can't relate to love (and love lost), pain, dreams shattered, and escape?

It's a new band, with a unique, yet familiar sound. Fans of character-driven songs and loud sing-alongs powered by acoustic guitars and earnest vocals would be wise to invest a little time and Go Big.