Big Heet’s debut LP, On A Wire, is a fucking mess – a big, beautiful fucking mess of aggression, heart, and post-hardcore. These guys continuously pile sounds on top of sounds while the songs remain uncluttered and organic (I kind of hate when people describe music as “organic,” but I basically mean it doesn’t sound like noise) aka, bands like Drive Like Jehu and At the Drive-In. David Settle (guitar/vocals), John Saul (lead guitar), Geoff Perkins (bass), and Ronnie Francisco (drums) have put out a wild record, but through all the key changes and progressive instrumentation, On A Wire manages to remain punk rock.
Settle’s politically charged lyrics, which touch on world issues, including sexual assault, environmentalism, and white supremacy, feel personal and honest, as opposed to a statistic or over-shared Facebook post. Using metaphors and the raw emotion of the music, he is able to paint a vivid picture of the climate of current affairs. On A Wire opens with its title track, an angst-fueled hardcore jam about feeling overwhelmed but the state of the world. While not touching on any one specific issue, it conveys the helplessness of watching the world around you burn without the faintest clue of how to have your voice heard, let alone affect change. From there, each song tackles a different problem we face in the modern world. “Flint,” for instance, is about the multiple water crises plaguing our country and the corrupt politicians who care more about money than protecting their constituents from literal poison. “Mirror,” on the other hand, is more abstract. This track deals with our complacency in the face of tragedy. While everyone is quick to offer “hopes and prayers,” most are unwilling to change themselves accordingly. The final song is titled “Personal/Political.” It’s told from Settle’s personal experience of years of battling health problems – not only those in his body but those that debilitate the entire medical industry. The point being, that even when a problem is personal in nature, there is often a larger political issue at its root.
Although Big Heet’s debut undoubtedly deserves praise for its lyrical accomplishments, the musicianship is what sets it apart from a simple protest album. Each song is a bomb, some without even the hint of a fuse, exploding in a fury of guitar scratch and a hail of drum rolls. Perkins’ heavy bass drives the album, while Saul creeps over with sporadic but poignant guitar lines. Francisco drums are huge and every run across the skin leaves you with chills. Big Heet’s On a Wire is the perfect powerhouse to open up minds, open up eyes, and most, definitely open up pits.
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Stream On A Wire below: