BIG MESS – TRY TO ENJOY IT (INDISCIPLINARIAN)

Copenhagen’s melodic punk band Big Mess released their second album Try to Enjoy It back on September 29 via Indisciplinarian. A follow-up to 2016’s You Know I Care, this album is 12 tracks of energetic, melodic, and catchy – if a bit too poppy – rock and roll with themes ranging from illness and addiction to heartbreak and even gender identity.

The album opens up with the track “Pick Ur Queen.” It’s even-tempered yet upbeat, a very radio friendly opening track. Vocalist/guitarist and main songwriter Tobias Bendixen said about the song:

“‘Pick Ur Queen’ showcases our direct, poppy side and is a song of new love and letting down your guard. The title is not to be taken as heteronormative as it may seem – it is actually referring to my own fluctuating gender expressions as well as Poison Ideas hardcore classic ‘Pick Your King.’”

Following up is “Leave This Scene,” which is a much better track overall. It’s a bit less of a pop song and more of a real punk rock tune. It’s still got a little pop in there, but it’s barely noticeable. The aggression gets turned up here as well, but not quite enough to get entirely out of the safe zone. “Counting on U” is next, and yes kids, the single letter “U” as opposed to the actual word “you” is used in titles throughout this album. This one is another pop-heavy track, but not overly so. It has just enough of a punk vibe in it to make it enjoyable.

“Double-Edged” is more of the same pop-infused punk. The guitars here sometimes give off a surf music vibe, and I actually found myself enjoying the track just for its upbeat tempo and slick rhythm.  “Still S.A.D.” is one of the few tracks on it that sounds more like traditional punk, alas it’s a bit too short, coming in at a minute and forty-five seconds. Bendixen commented on the song:

“The title is a reference to the Dr. Dre song, ‘Still D.R.E.’ The first line is also taken from that very same song! I’m not sure how that reference popped up, except that Dr. Dre was a childhood favorite of mine. I guess it’s also a way of injecting some humor into a song that deals with trying to make it out of a bad place, but also having trouble with your friendships, relying on sleeping pills, and things like that.”

“Bridesmaid” is the sixth track on the record, and another that actually sounds like traditional punk. It opens up with some speedy and raw guitar riffs, and the drumming on this track is superb. There’s a guest vocal on the track that compliments it pretty nicely. I felt like I was in an elevator with the beginning of the next track “2 of U,” which consists of a mellow drum beat followed by some horn playing and pretty soft and relaxing guitar before some very smooth vocals come in. It feels like a mix of elevator music, lounge music, and a little bit of tropical music. Following this mix is  “Nobody’s Favorite” which is another mellow track. It’s more somber than balladesque, but the impressive pace of the drums keeps it from being too depressing.

Next is “Kill ‘Em All” which ditches the mellow and somber attitudes of the previous two tracks in favor of raw aggression, as does “Montage Feeling.” I was highly impressed with the pace of “Montage Feeling,” as every part of it is such a departure from the rest of the album, in a good way. This track feels much more hardcore punk than the rest of the album, but sadly it’s another short one, only coming in at a minute and forty-two seconds.

Next, we return to feeling the feelings with “Stay With Ur Friends.” It’s a very slow and melodramatic piece which only slightly picks up towards the end of the track where you can really hear the emotion in every instrument. Finally, “Ny Kold” is a faster paced pure punk track, equal parts catchy and aggressive, only brought down by a little too much repetition and the longest fade out ever.

With few exceptions, Try to Enjoy It is safe. Too safe, in fact, which seems counterproductive to a punk record. It’s pretty heavy on the pop side, and it often feels like the band is trying too hard to be radio friendly. Where the album excels are the faster, more traditional punk tracks that carry the energy and raw power you’d hope to hear from a record of this nature. Final score: 2 out of 5 axes.

Tracklist:

  1. Pick Ur Queen
  2. Leave This Scene
  3. Counting on U
  4. Double-Edged
  5. Still S.A.D.
  6. Bridesmaid
  7. 2 of U
  8. Nobodys Favorite
  9. Kill ‘Em All
  10. Montage Feeling
  11. Stay With Ur Friends

Lineup:
Chad Carrier – Vocals/bass/guitar
Bernie Deal – Drums
Dave Carradi – Guitar

Check out Big Mess here:
https://bigmessdk.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/bigmessdk/

 

Written by Mitch Ellerbrock for Bloodrock Media on October 27, 2017