Big Jesus – ‘Oneiric’

By Glen Bushell

When we caught up with Big Jesus back in the summer, we discussed the name of their debut album, ‘Oneiric’. Vocalist Spencer Ussery told us that they “wanted to name the album something that was hard to pronounce,” which they succeeded in doing. However, mispronunciations aside, the word ‘Oneiric’ refers to dreams, and couldn’t have been a more fitting title for the hazy brand of rock music that the Atlanta-based quartet play.

Inspired by their own dreams, and a love of all things ethereal, Big Jesus have honed the sound they have been crafting since the bands inception a few years back. Drawing heavily from 90s alternative rock and indie, with a clear admiration for pop hooks, they have found the perfect combination of huge guitar riffs and sweet, saccharine melody.

The driving rhythms of the barnstorming opening track, ‘SP’ kicks ‘Oneiric’ off in style, instantly introducing you to what Big Jesus are about, and immediately sets the tone of the album. They found a formula that works, and stuck to it for the duration of the ten glorious tracks. Walls of distortion and layers of warm fuzz glide through ‘Always’ and ‘Lock & Key’, complementing Ussery’s unique vocal range.

There is a familiarity to Big Jesus’ sound, and while it is fair to say that they are not reinventing the wheel on ‘Oneiric’, they are proof that the wheel is fine as it is. What they do, they do incredibly well. Even when they simmer the tone of the album down to a slower pace through the lush ‘Floating Passed You’, and the delicate swoon of the closing track, ‘Heaviest Heart’, the delivery is honest, and the execution perfect.

The most charming aspect of ‘Oneiric’, is that it is an album you want to go back to more than once. It sucks you in and wraps itself around you, much like the thick reverb that shrouds the bombastic grunge riffs of ‘Shards’. The crisp production of ‘Oneiric’ makes tracks like ‘Shrimp’ and ‘Felt In Reverse’ all the more inviting, and make you want to lose yourself in the record over and over again.

While Big Jesus take obvious cues from their heroes and peers, they are not here just to pay homage to the golden era of 90s alt-rock, nor do they wish to trade in nostalgia. ‘Oneiric’ is a dynamic, modern rock record, that puts a refreshing take on a classic sound.

GLEN BUSHELL

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