Got an email about this single from a new UK label: Records Records Records Records, from the band, Big Deal.
Oh Jesus... just the acoustic guitar and Alice's vocals on the first few bars of 'Homework' are enough reason to start a label just to press this single and be satisfied if this is the only thing that you put out into the world. The solo, distant fingerpicked guitar, the tight, echo English vocals from the duo are just painful, raw nostalgic emotion. Like 'Crosses' from Jose Gonzalez or the Speed Trials single from Mr. Misery...the melody is enough to bring back the saddest day of high school, alone in your room, broken up about a destined-to-fail relationship that felt like the most important thing that would ever happen. The weight, the finality of your pathetic situation, the inevitable...She can't do her homework, can't concentrate. You want someone to care this much about anything.
It's definitely not for the kids in high school now, hooked on Slip Knot...I get it, they have to fight back in every possibly way, but after the dust settles and there's a moment alone to reflect...it's all here.
And it's why this immediately creates a million imitators, it's so stripped down and basic, it has to be easy to duplicate, right? There's nothing to the track but 2 vocals and a guitar, anyone could hit record and get this kind of perfect heartbreak...some might get close, but not like these two.
Where do bands starting out get the confidence to put this out as an A-Side of their first single? It's either genius amazing, or just completely luck of the luck, but then the B-Side cover of Big Star's 13 confirms they know exactly what their up to, and have been aching in those sincere ways. It's a perfect cover that changes the original , slowing down the melody, both Alive and Kacey delivering the lyrics where you recognize every word, but you're not sure how. They bring that 'Homework' minimalism to Big Star....
There's not a lot of people that could capture the right mood for these tracks, let alone write vocals that are equally as crushing as the sparse instrumentation. It's a perfect storm of simplicity and submission. They've been there and put it down in this little unassuming track 'Homework', and are only multiplying the sadness.
Big Deal is Kacey Underwood and Alice Costelloe. They both sing, they both write and they both play guitar. In the summer of 2010 they got tired of plugging things in, wearing ear plugs and waiting around. Bored with making fun of each others band’s they decided to start one together, writing and recording in their bedrooms.
Big Deal conjur up woozy, lo-fi folk, understated and discreet music for the early hours, both beautiful and fragile. With a First Sight piece in The Guardian coming after just their second show, it’s fair to say that there is something a little special going on here – the dual vocals combining to great effect across “Homework” and on their cover of arguably Big Star’s most enduring song, “13”.
Start slashing wrists.... this will only be available to those brave enough to trust this fragile piece of wax will actually make the 4000 mile journey intact...but then that's sort of what these songs are about.
You're probably better off.