David Briggs is responsible for all guitar work, bass, keyboards, vocals and, in his own words, "all manner of studio jigger-pokery"; he originally studied Art & Design at college and it was here that he first learnt to play guitar under mentor Mike Goodwin. David is a highly skilled guitarist, producer/arranger and is a seasoned live performer having played from the late 70's through to the present day in bands such as The Dead Popes, Dolce Vita, Aqua Vitae, Silent Network and currently Big Sleep.
Tony Webster is the band's lead vocalist, lyricist and ideas man. Tony also studied the arts at college where he specialised in illustration and first performed as lead singer in a band; he went on to become a highly proficient and skilled illustrator and writer of original stories. Tony's ability to convey vivid images through his lyrical skills coupled with David's talents as a multi-instrumentalist and producer are what makes this duo's work both captivating and exciting.
How would I describe their sound? There is a strong retro flavour to their music and some tracks are very reminiscent of John Lennon/the Beatles and encompass some of the Merseybeat sound There are marvellous parallels with the writing, wit and delivery of Ray Davies and The Kinks, a sprinkling of audacity once attributed to bands like The Small Faces, some very haunting psychedelic undertones and many offbeat and unusual perspectives that rival early Pink Floyd. Naturally there are also similarities with bands like Oasis and Supergrass. But make no mistake; this is no copycat act or a mishmash of ideas. All their work is carefully arranged, produced and crafted with exceptional expertise and originality. There is a lot of simple fun in their music, but it is interwoven with stunningly good musicianship, skilful changes of pace and mood and some very impressive twists, turns and surprises. Whilst they mirror some great styles from the past, they also reflect their own creative and contemporary slant.
The cd consists of 13 tracks which, although encompassing everything from thumping rock and roll to melodic masterpieces, flows seamlessly from one track to the next and I guarantee you will be fascinated throughout. It kicks off with "Me and you and You and me", a Beatlesque number with vocals very reminiscent of John Lennon and there is a strong Merseybeat flavour which gets the party going. "Nothing to do with me" is a bouncy track with Brit Rock jangly guitars, great electric guitar solo and a delivery reminiscent of The Kinks. "In the b;link of an eye" confirms Tony Webster as the new Ray Davies with his lyrical ability and the way he is able to give us an insight into an everyday edgy situation. Anyone who enjoyed The Kinks' Village Green Preservation Society album will be thoroughly delighted by the next two tracks. Those not acquainted with music of that decade can simply sit back and enjoy a glimpse into days gone by and English culture. "Vapour trails over the village green" is a surprising short instrumental with bird song and flutes. It cleverly depicts Middle England and the rolling countryside of the 40's and as the track becomes a little darker we are all prepared for "Spitfire girl" and the haunting words of Winston Churchill during wartime Britain. The message is clear and typifies England in a crisis; there is an underlying sense of seriousness and concern, yet there is still beauty all around and hope that things will improve. "Set me up, knock me down" is an upbeat, fun number intended to lift our spirits with its contagious sense of fun and an audacity similar to The Small Faces or Supergrass. "....for the curious" is a track with psychedelic elements and a sense of light and shade that confirms the superior compositional skills and the ability to both entertain and captivate. I was once again impressed by the terrific guitar work and John Lennon type vocal delivery in "Find a penny". The arrangement was superb and ventured into Asian instrumentation which gave the track a whole new dimension and kept me completely fascinated. "The face in the cupboard" underlines the lyrical prowess in this cd; it is quirky, offbeat, yet somehow it strikes an inner chord and everyone can relate to it. Combined with the outstanding arrangement this track could rival any early Pink Floyd. "The game invisible" is a reminder of the exceptional musicianship and top class performance by both members of the band, every part is well crafted and perfectly placed, yet the work is subtle and we are unaware of the extent of the skills needed to produce such fine music. In "England dreams" the band acknowledge their roots and influences. Their ability to absorb minor details and to observe life is reflected within all their songs; here are two musicians who are not afraid to pay homage to their past or their musical heroes. "This quick and silly little thrill" is superbly produced psychedelic Brit Rock. This track illustrates how this duo can influence us with the twists and turns in their music. They possess amazing insight and perception together with highly skilled musical techniques. The finale is "Nocturne". Be prepared to be stunned by yet another dimension to their sound. The guitar playing could easily be compared with Santana with its smooth progression and beautiful tone. This instrumental is stunningly atmospheric and is the perfect end to an amazing cd; I am already waiting with great anticipation to see what they come up with for their next cd.
In summary, an exceptionally skilful cd, clever, entertaining, original, creative and superbly arranged and performed. Once you have heard this cd, you will definitely be on the look out for their next one!
The cd can be obtained via the following website: www.soundclick.com/bigsleep