If you’re familiar with Fugazi, then you’re familiar with Big Ups. I know I shouldn’t make comparisons, but I still do it. This comparison is very positive for me. ‘Eighteen Hours of Static’ is a strained album that curdles somewhere in between post-hardcore, grungy hangovers and basement punk blackouts.
Whilst it feels like aggression non stop throughout, there are moments of, ‘peace’ in tracks such as ‘Wool’, but the calm is broken at the end; if it’s good, the calm is always broken. Filler is minimal, it’s more like that one bit of potato that isn’t cooked in a jacket potato.
Big Ups have given us a heavy dirt-ball all the way from Brooklyn that goes against our idea that everyone there is too cool to listen to anything popular, and they all have cassettes of an underground band who don’t even have a bandcamp, that or they listen to Holy Ghost! for a steady twelve hours a day (who does this?). This album is cool, it’s welcome, it has the most awesome moment in ‘Fresh Meat’ where it almost recalls Anthrax’s ‘Caught in a Mosh’ just with the obscure sound of what appears to be a blender in the background.
‘Eighteen Hours of Static’ is a pummelling start to the new year, ushering the sound of a new youth, a youth to stay; welcome Big Ups into your life.
Eighteen Hours Of Static is anything but. It’s not a Kevin Drumm record for God’s sake. Instead, The Big Ups’ debut is just shy of 30 minutes of exhilarating punk that listens like a checklist of all that’s good in noise. As the guitars explode in “Grin” and during the anti-religion anthem “Atheist Self-Help” you get reminded of classic, snotty Irish-American ska(te)-punk, only as envisaged by the likes of Fugazi. The only 3+ minute track on the album, “Wool”, duly meanders through the more melodic corners of Shellac’s pained domain. The tense jangle and gritted howl of “Body Parts” comes on in turn like Slint, while the brutal-but-catchy “Justice” treads the same quiet-loud-quiet structures as the last Cloud Nothings LP.
Who wouldn’t be on board for a full-blown post-hardcore rock revival anyway? It’s either that or grunge next in any case and, right on cue, the glorious “TMI” throws Kurt’s Bleach-era broken-glass gargle into the ring with Big Black’s crunching bass and Anthrax’s trademark thrash. Further demonstrating the Brooklynites’ immaculate taste, all 1:25 of “Little Kid” is a face-breaking racket in the Black Flag mould.
On top of Big Ups’ overt and expected anti-establishmentarianism (sample lyric: “Everybody says it's getting better but it's bad, still bad”) there’s real intelligence here too. “Disposer” is about humanity’s waste culture and to say frontman Joe Galarraga is not happy about it is an understatement. All the same, having the composure to pull back before each of his bouts of total destruction shows a wise head on his shoulders. Some of the guitar work too is fresh despite the long-list of influences. “Fresh Meat”, for example, houses some awesome wind-up action against its ferociously nasty Big Black backdrop.
It almost goes without saying that Big Ups will totally slay on the live circuit. While you wait for them to come around, Eighteen Hours Of Static will do more than just keep you company – it’ll keep you salivating for one of the events of the year with each frequent spin.
A treat to listen to. Noisy, loud but also very intelligent. Highly recommend the vinyl too however my copy has a locked groove on b side which doesn't seem to be documented anywhere else so I'm assuming its just mine - basically a small portion of a riff keeps looping therefore the record doesn't end. (I'm assuming this is unintentional) nevertheless go and buy this record!