Big Up’s debut album Eighteen Hours Of Static was a pummeling half an hour of punk and post-hardcore that took fans of the scene on a nostalgia trip right back to the early 90’s. There is no hiding from the sonic similarities of Big Ups to the likes of Fugazi, Slint, Bleach era Nirvana and other bands of that era, which, frankly, is great. The aforementioned bands have influenced the evolution of the modern punk and post-hardcore in a huge way. The added bonus for Big Ups is that in Before A Million Universes they prove that no other band of this generation can do the genre justice anywhere close to their efforts.
Before A Million Universes shows the band return with essentially more of the same. Singer Joe Galaragga is still the director of the controlled chaos combining hard-hitting spoken word with brutal shouts you’d expect from a young Ian Mackaye. The drums weigh in heavy when necessary but otherwise lurk in the background ominously, along with the interplay between the more stern bass and frantic, jagged guitar.
The production of the album is more or less as it should be: reasonably stripped back, dry and snarling. The to and fro of dynamics and shifts in intensity is what help make the album so hard to step away from. Whether it is the addictive driving aggression of tracks like ‘Capitalized’ or the slowly progressive tracks like ‘Meet Where We Are’ or ‘So Much You’ the album keeps on delivering the emotionally damaging hits. That said it is also the range in dynamics of the two latter songs that connect the group so clearly to its influences.
While not be necessarily as loose and hectic as Eighteen Hours Of Static, Before A Million Universes still maintains the explosive impact as seen in Big Ups debut and will give punk and post-hardcore fans a very enjoyable kick.