Featured Image: Elle Turner
Originating from London, Big Wednesday are a band like no other. Instead of studying for music degrees, the four members actually met at drama school – their experience in theatre granting them the necessary skills to provide live shows full of energy and vigour. They have already graduated from the sweaty student bars which provided the basis for their band, moving towards the cult venues of our capital city: The Hope & Anchor, The Islington and The Victoria, to name a few. Their unlikely beginnings have also put a theatrical spin on their sound, ensuring that their debut release (a compilation of three stunning tracks) is alive with the same amount of passion witnessed in musical theatre. The group blend post-punk riffs with beautiful vocal harmonies and honest songwriting, creating a fun and danceable indie-pop delight.
The standout track is, of course, ‘Stuck in the Kitchen’. Despite its lyrics taking on a whole new meaning during lockdown, they actually tell the tale of someone yearning for the past. Set at a party, the song is teeming with youthful zest and excitement. However, the narrator actually feels lonely and out of place. In fact, he only seems to know one person, a friend from his teenage years. The torrent of childhood flashbacks which follow is what makes the song so relatable. The vocalists, Caitlin and Harvey, sing lines such as, “Boys get lonely, waiting for their lives to start,” exploring the unfortunate paradox of childhood: that you only know its true value once it has passed. They do this through vivid depictions of the easy fun the characters once had.
The narrator is determined to re-embrace the freedom of teenage life – so much so that he re-asks out his first crush! This frantic desire to stop taking anything seriously is shown by the dramatic pounding of drums as they sing, “I’m never going to get any answers from you”. The sound of the track is as melodramatic as its lyrics suggest. Full of dissonant jazz chords and jarring riffs, the guitar sound immediately offers the boundless energy of youth. However, a sense of desperation is constantly lurking in the background, even during the more dreamy and wistful verses. The thrill of the track also comes from the contrast between each section. For example, right before Big Wednesday’s epic chorus, we are hit with a soft and melodic section, filled with the character questioning his decisions. The band’s gloriously retrograde feel provides a nostalgic and heartfelt ode to adolescence.
The group play with your assumptions once again on their next track, ‘Do Me No Good’. What initially appears to be an acoustic folk ballad quickly develops into a rock song, filled with massive choruses and epic guitar solos. This time, the story is told from the perspective of someone who fears rejection and is overcome with self-doubt. “It’s hard to tell when it’s a throwaway remark” and “It’s hard to tell when it’s an arrow in the heart”, sings Cait and Harvey, revealing their character’s disbelief that anyone could feel affection for them. Still, love gives the narrator strength. The chorus consists of the line, “I would brush my hair out of my eyes for you”. Despite the speaker’s lack of self-esteem, they choose to reveal their true feelings. The subtle key change that introduces the chorus continues the band’s trend of subverting expectations, whilst adding an extra layer of emotion onto a track already dripping with sentimentality. The intertwining of the two lead vocalists’ voices is the most striking element of their composition – that, and the emotive country guitar chords that form the backbone of the verses.
Their final number is another long and winding musical journey, this time a full five and a half minutes long. ‘Losing Days’ begins with a slow and funky 6/8 rhythm on the drums before a subtler, bass-driven riff begins on the guitars. Soaked in reverb, the song’s melancholic sound is perfect for a track that is centred around longing and regret. Its lyrics explore the aftermath of a breakup, beginning with the painful memories of life just before the separation. It then moves to the present, reflecting how the smallest things (a space in the bed, reaching for two cups instead of one) are all reminders of their partner sharing their love with someone else. The narrator’s pain is evident in every aspect of the song, from its almost Disney-like choruses to its solemn verses and middle 8. “Pages and pages of love songs that could have been,” they sing, reflecting on how the character believes that they are to blame for their failed relationships. You can be sure that where Big Wednesday is concerned, there will always be many complex levels of emotion – and never a dull moment!
Steeped with sentiment and saturated with electrifying fills, the music of Big Wednesday is absolutely unforgettable.
Big Wednesday’s self-titled EP is available on all streaming platforms.
Make sure to check out their music video for ‘Stuck In The Kitchen’, premiering on their YouTube channel on the 10th July.