Big Deal: Lights Out [Mute]
There’s quite an age gap between boy/girl (man/woman?) Big Deal band members Kacey Underwood and Alice Costelloe. They met when 29-year-old American Underwood was teaching the 18-year-old British Costelloe how to play guitar. Big deal, right?
Well, it’d be easier to overcome such a — to some — troubling age gap if debut album Lights Out didn’t continually ramp up Lolita-like levels of sexual tension.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
Homework sees Costelloe declaring a lover has her so spun out she “can’t do my homework/can’t concentrate/it’s ruining my grades/I can’t think straight” while Cool Like Kurt has her begging someone to “Take me to your bed/Don’t take me home/I want to be old/I want to be older”. Yikes.
But hey, even if Underwood and Costelloe are romantically attached in real life — and nothing here suggests they’re not — who are we to judge? Especially since Big Deal’s music has such a hazy loveable sound built on a base of acoustic guitar and fuzz-toned indie pop guitar.
Big Deal have no rhythm section so there’s no pesky drummer or bassist to get in the way of the lovebirds’ twin-vocalled — more often than not they sing the same lyrics simultaneously — songs (about each other?). Surprisingly, those band members aren’t missed and it works beautifully.
Think of it as having a Lost In Translation vibe without the electronica. Or Big Star’s Thirteen which Big Deal have covered and cite as an influence. (Actually, on second thoughts, forget Thirteen. It also can be construed as being a tad dodgy…gorgeous melody though.)
Perhaps Underwood and Costelloe aren’t an item and — as first track Chair has it — maybe they only want each other for the songs they write about how much they ‘like’ each other. Even if — as its lyrics also suggest — they want to be lovers but are trying hard to be friends.
In any event, this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship between Big Deal and listeners.