Big Loser - Love You, Barely Living (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Big Loser

Love You, Barely Living (2020)

Black numbers

Love You, Barely Living is the Black Numbers debut by Big Loser, a band formed by vocalist/guitarist Chase Spruiell. Their music is melodic and emotive, comparing themselves to bands like The Menzingers and The Gaslight Anthem.

The album begins with "Reveille!", a nice, short intro which builds into an exciting horn outro and sets the tone for the rest of the record. Standout track "Blisters" immediately follows with an extremely catchy chorus punctuated by a great guitar melody. As well as the band’s own comparisons, there’s definitely a hint of Matt Skiba in Spruiell’s vocals which remain at the forefront throughout the album.

The album veers off from the more pop-punk based opening tracks into darker, moodier songs towards the middle. "When I Disappear" and "Beautiful Dark Room" both slow things down, displaying a different side to the band’s writing. They are moodier songs, and break up the flow of pure pop-punk, catchy songs to showcase the range that this band are capable of.

The high-point of the album comes in a run of three songs, from the dark, acoustic-based "Post-Almost-Overdose" which serves as a centre-piece for the record. It works as an intermission, building into the more musically upbeat "Persistent Heart" and "Barely Living". These pop-punk songs are where the band shine, with great hooks and flowing conversational lyrics. 

The album is extremely vocal and guitar-heavy throughout, managing to punctuate calm verses with big choruses full of self-deprecating lyrics and followed by exciting guitar riffs. The poppy, happy guitar parts contrast with the dark lyrical themes throughout. The album falls somewhere between punk and emo, with Spanish Love Songs being the best comparison. Love You, Barely Living doesn’t do too much to stand apart from its contemporaries, but there’s enough here for an enjoyable listen. It will be exciting to see how the band perfect their craft from here on out.