Big. Grumbling. Moody, dark/deep vocals always grab the attention. Of course your favourite vocalists will not be Josh T Pearson or Nick Cave but they be among your ‘coolest’, by virtue of a strange allure they radiate, that draws you to them like the despot dictator who you begudgingly admit is a ‘helluva orator’.
MEH is the project of California’s Alex Petralia and he has all of the above going on and ensures that his music makes such an allure, all the more apparent. As such, we see his vocal richness flirt with the nicer recesses of pre-It’s A Shame… The Lemonheads, as it courts the start of the best of early 90s guitar-pop in Petty Cokehead and Don’t Come Around.
Similarly his vocals are accentuated by antithesis. The truly stunning Seconds and What’s It To You Anyways reveal a Sarah Records influence as he dances petty, fragile, jangly indie-pop riffs around his vocal boom.
It’s a disparate mix and one that muddys the hitherto untouchable anglophile waters and rules taht dictate that ‘Sarah Strains’ should be accompanied by precious, hushed, female vocals, but its the whole sweet and ugly thing that makes these tracks the best of the album and at the same time enables the release to drift into an indie-folk climate.
Petralia has a little rant in the verbage of the Bandcamp release page about how the ‘so for the artist’ Bandcamp refuse to let him run a link to the Maximum Pelt label’s Big Cartel page, whilst still using them to sell the digital copies. It’s perfectly contrary, perfectly grumpy and beautifully honest and just fits the entire feel of Big Soft.
FIND BIG SOFT HERE: Bandcamp
FIND MAXIMUM PELT HERE: Facebook / Big Cartel (buy cassette here)