Big Nothing - Chris (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Big Nothing

Chris (2019)


As a huge fan of Pat Graham and Spraynard, him begin attached to Big Nothing was probably the easiest sell ever. After taking in their 7-inch on Asian Man Records, it became perfectly clear this right here was more or less a super group without the pretentious tag of really being super. However, if it's one thing that is super is the music Big Nothing churns out, and honestly, if you're a fan of Superchunk or the Replacements, then Chris is right up your alley.

What's most intriguing is it isn't even the Pat Graham show. While almost every single song is a buzzy, '90s alt/indie rock singalong, Pat's just a rotating vocalist in a band that sticks to its simplicity and its strength, spinning the wheel to near perfection. Again, not to sound like a douche, but on songs like "Real Name" I can't help but think of the term 'dad rock' and how much Big Nothing sounds like the middle ground between Restorations and The Sidekicks. Which is a massive compliment as I adore both bands. But it's also how well Liz Parsons carries about herself on "Calm Me Down" -- melodic, catchy with a vocal tone a la Shirley Manson.

When you mix all these in with songs like "Carried Away", the bass-ridden jams produce something I'd say is a bit more versatile than any band trying to ape or pay homage to the bands I mentioned in the first paragraph. There's a lyrical density about life and love here, and it's less about fun. Think of a dark novel, which comes to life perfectly on melancholic slow burners like "Sister" which I admittedly mistook for a Slingshot Dakota song at one point. And that's the magic of Big Nothing, they've got a full-blown ode to the '90s thing going, but it's indie rock that's pretty much modernised for college radio and dive bars. In terms of replay value, it shocked me how much I've had this on repeat, because I usually don't give indie songs such repetitive spins so quickly -- not since the last Cloud Nothings album. But, that in and of itself speaks to the worth of Chris -- it's simply lightning, and magic, in a bottle.