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"Eighteen Hours of Static"

Release date: 13 January 2014
Big Ups – Eighteen Hours of Static
14 January 2014, 11:30 Written by Slavko Bucifal

Sometimes its about the pure rush of adrenalin, sometimes its about the anger, and sometimes its all how it all fits together. Big Ups’ début record fits in that latter category as Eighteen Hours of Static feels more like a concept album and presents with an incredible amount of unity and design for a primal hardcore experience. It’s not just about is abusing vocal chords for the pure hell of it. There is a genuine narrative that looks inside the darkness that persists inside of us and while that story might get shit kicked from time to time, Eighteen Hours of Static is an intelligent romp into pure mania.

The album starts in a fuzzed out dream seemingly somewhere in a garage perhaps paying tribute to punk rockers everywhere armed solely with a single note for a bass line and barely a few more for the guitar. The whole thing explodes with the drums and vocals, both emanating an anger far beyond that of what typical folk are capable of. What is immediately clear is that Eighteen Hours of Static is sonic joy. Huge peaks complement subtle valleys all the while easily evoking voluntary body convulsions. But that’s all to be expected in a good hardcore record. The accompanying story line is just gravy.

Eighteen Hours of Static is as violently moody as the lyrics that surround it and the theme of the record emerges quickly on the opening track. “Body Parts” descends steeply into a drudgery of mental illness that is pawing and grabbing at a release from its own eighteen hours of static, or perhaps years.”Lets shake our heads/and use them to feel/then we can rest/and then we can heal”. People suffering from depression often describe their existence as a world void of colour as if they are living in grey fog. Big Ups front man Joe Galarraga often makes mention of this throughout the record crying and pleading to once again be vivid and lucid. On “TMI”, Galarraga bellows about the seemingly empty and helpless feeling one inevitably gets with technology information overload and suggests self medication as an antidote, all the while questioning the whole thing. “Self Medicate / Do you feel anything?” In “Wool” Galarraga suggests he is good at tricking himself into a false sense of happiness. “I think I’m pulling the wool over my own eyes”. Then, of course, there are moments of pure, untamed rage directed at various societal injustices including an anti-consumerist plea. He shouts “I am not a disposer” repeatedly with such clear, focused rage, you get the feeling that perhaps he trying to convince himself of it.

Eighteen Hours of Static reminds us that we are all fragile animals constantly at the edge of an abyss, and while we create the darkness ourselves, in the end it is up to us individually to create our own light. It is a powerful and dark narrative that fits the explosive attitude of the Big Ups and makes this record relevant on so many different levels.

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