The Big Terrible – Rotten City album review

Big Terrible are anything but. Rocking out in a retro way, the Philadelphia four-piece blends tasteful writing with a rock solid ensemble and whole lot of soul. The backup singers are a big plus. The big secret here is Jonathan Dumoff, who apparently is more than a talented acoustic musician.

Listening to their music reveals a band adept at sonic wizardry, because their sound is a few decades old. While that might sound like a dis, it is in fact an awestruck compliment. All the hallmarks of old school Motown inspired blues writing are present, right down to the vibrato settings on the guitar part. If you’re looking for envelope pushing innovation, you might not get into this, but if you can appreciate true musicality and really good band that knows how to emote while rocking out, look no further.

At its heart, this is about songwriting. Each track tells its own story, awash in highly emotive drama and a very musical feel. This band is more proof of the sheer musicality of Jonathan Dumoff. For someone to be able to recontextualize their sensibility this successfully by moving from an essentially solo acoustic setting to a full on rock band with such consistency is impressive. This is also proof of the caliber of musicians he plays with, because the whole band holds their own. The ‘of-one-mind’ groove lockdown that exists between the drums and bass has a tendency to get you moving, even while sitting in your seat and typing.

By Paul Paradis

Paul is a musician, writer, and teacher living in Tacoma. When not engaged in the endless task of raising his six year old whirling dervish James Sparhawk, he spends his time creating music, pursuing a bachelor's, working out, and living. He is originally from the east coast: Worcester, Mass. born, and Providence, RI bred. Having traveled around some, the Pacific Northwest tends to feel more and more like home with each passing day, Very similar to New England in some ways, but different in a way that is refreshing. Rock on.

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