By Devin Morse
Complex, yet understated; dirty, yet lighthearted, Does it Weigh Heavy is all about balance.
At the album’s core is a raw, minimalist type of southern blues. The most striking element may be the three-piece’s ability to not over-play; to preserve each song’s integrity by leaving open space for the well-crafted riffs and solos to play off one another. Since each player is obviously endowed with much technical skill, their ability to keep themselves so in-check nods to their maturity as songwriters.
The album’s feel is accurately captured in the track “Reserved, Absurd,” which starts off as a sort of low-key ditty with a lounge feel before busting into a thick, dirty blues guitar riff. Again, no instrument plays more than its part, and the vintage, compressed quality of the vocals complements the sound perfectly.
The track “Unnatural Selection” is evidence of The Big Motif’s underlying predilection for contradiction. The song is a call-and-response of sorts, contrasting a mellow Hawaiian surf guitar riff with a jarring, staccato refrain. Somehow, it works very well when packaged with an impressive guitar solo and a catchy chorus.
If I had one piece of criticism for The Big Motif, it might be that The Black Keys have already been there and done that. However, this would in no way prevent me from buying their album, wearing their T-shirt, or screaming like a giddy little schoolgirl at their live show.