5 out of 5
Label: Essay Records
Produced by: Mike Dixon (recorded by)
Everything I could tell you is covered in a much more in-depth review over at cokemachineglow. After I read that, my own opinion just kinda farted out of my head in a frightened defeat, knowing it didn’t have nearly as much to offer.
I persevere, wondering if approaching This Is My Big Night with an empty head is for the best. Not because it’s senseless / meaningless, but because even with the context of its sister concept album – Stage Fright, Stage Fright – it’s easy to walk into this with some expectations (from that album; from lead Mike Anderson’s Racebannon) as to what this is going to sound like. And it doesn’t not sound like those things, but I was, and am, caught off guard by how it stands wholly on its own as well, as weird and catchy and harsh and silly and awesome as ever.
This is the followup to Stage Fright’s setup, though it’s hard to parse what that means, plotwise. The nervy and naive celebration of creativity of that disc seems to blossom into our meandering through the ups and downs of a relative success: questioning self, relationships, and putting on different ‘tudes that suit the moment. But this isn’t the attempted moral tale of Rhonda Delite; This Is My Big Night still shares the upbeat vibe that is RtH’s m.o., but it’s turned into something incredibly focused; just as that previous album seemed to revel in the “discovery” of oneself to an extent, this album is okay with those post-discovery ebbs and flows. They are part and parcel of living a life; This Is My Big Night, perhaps, wants to turn those daily question marks into something more positive.
Not that this is all hunky dory thumbs up subject matter, though; Anderson’s manic, layered vocals and the impossible criss-cross of clean, half-broken guitar licks – like a pop-ized U.S. Maple – plus the jumpy drumming, and very present production, give the album a dramatic edge, regardless of whether its tone is wholly a happy or melancholy one.
Ultimately, though, this is kind of my ideal double album concept package: each disc stands alone, but complements the other – some riffs and themes are lifted from Stage Fright – while also allowing for a sense of a journey to emerge as you go through both discs.
You could easily circle back around to Stage Fright’s relative doubts after this, making for quite an emotional cycle, but regardless of how often I have done exactly that, the energy and ferocity and yet somehow delicate nature of this disc never fails to surprise, or make me smile.