Great Big Sea
Rounder / Zoe
With their folk stylings and the simple, wholesome messages evident in their songs, Canada’s Great Big Sea are as inoffensive a band as you will ever hear. However, there is something captivating about their blend of classic Celtic influences and pop melodies on Something Beautiful.
The Newfoundland quintet are not doing anything the likes of Seven Nations haven’t already done, but there is enough diversity contained on this, their eighth album, to satisfy even the most skeptical listener. From the raucous pub sing-along of “Helmethead” to the band’s decent cover of Runrig’s “Bang the Drum/Pride of the Summer” and an interpretation of the traditional ballad “John Barbour,” the material here is by no means monotonous. The fact that three band members regularly interchange lead vocal duties adds another facet to the band’s crisp, clear sound, honed by veteran producer Michael Phillip Wojewoda.
Although there’s a lean to a contemporary pop-rock sound on opener “Shines Right Through Me” and the following track, “When I am King,” Great Big Sea sounds best on the more organic and earthy tunes, such as “Let It Go” and “Lucky You.” The pick of these is the inspiring title track, which is characterized by some lovely traditional instrumentation and a simple, yet memorable melody line.
Something Beautiful is sure to appeal to Great Big Sea’s already established fan base, and it might yet find its way into the consciousness of anyone with a penchant for natural vocal harmonies, good, solid melodies and heartfelt songs.