By Ray Adair
Big Stone Crew formed between 2013 and 2014 in the city of Porto Alegre in Southern Brazil. The lads claim their band’s simple purpose is to “break the rules and the borders by mixing rock and punk genres with lyrics sung in English” – something pretty rare in Brazil. The band is composed of Wagão on bass and vocals, Neb on Drums, and guitarists Will and Pacote. In February 2015 Big Stone Crew released their debut album titled Legacy, which was self-recorded, mixed and produced by the band, in their hometown at Green Room and Hill Valley Studios.
The album was then mastered by tech legend Jason Livermore, who has recently worked with globally recognized punk superstars such as Less than Jake, Rise Against, and Alkaline Trio – and the end result is an extremely well balanced album of classically fast, polished and punchy punk rock, with most tracks finishing just after the three minute mark.
Legacy is a delicious ear-friendly composition with tropes borrowed from hard rock and classic punk as well as pop and at times even featuring a flash of blues infused guitar solos. Big Stone Fish open their debut LP with a track called “Siren’s Call”, a tune undoubtedly teetering on the ledge of hardcore and with pop-metal licks. The roaring guitars at the opening of the track are reminiscent of classic British punk bands like The Clash and the Sex Pistols, and as the song delivers decidedly pop-punk clean-cut vocals, issues of regret and rock and roll are addressed between instrumental breakdowns that would fit perfectly into any early Dead Kennedy’s track. These bluesy guitar riffs are undeniably memorable and make it pretty hard not to nod along in time – something thankfully present throughout the majority of the album!
Breaking away from current pop-punk trends, Legacy features heavier instrument involvement, positioning itself in the new wave of emerging punk rock revisions. Impressive guitar harmonies carry on into the second track “No Regrets”, with self-deprecating lyrics like, “we’re just losers passing by” unveiling the band’s attempt at empathetic subject matter and perhaps an aim towards a younger crowd.
“High Tech Slave” pays homage to vocal melodies found in Against Me! tracks with great breaks and well placed percussion build ups and breakdowns. The subject matter tackled, in true punk rock fashion, is political in nature featuring quips like, “slaves of our own time” and “human interaction will die” – a social commentary based on our current media and technology saturated societies.
Perhaps the best rack on this album, “Traffic” allows nice head room for a grungy bass riff intro and simple chord progressions paired with melodic vocals carry this song into that part of your mind that loops way after the track has finished. Undeniably catchy throughout, the track really exhibits how some times less is more. Spiced up by lamenting and almost mandolin like guitar harmonies in the middle eight of the song, this track is super bluesy and possibly the most innovative piece on Legacy.
Legacy is out now on iTunes, Spotify, Rdio, Deezer, Amazon, Google Play, Youtube and Bandcamp. If you like rock music of any genre, I’d advice giving this a spin, it’s innovative and energetic – definitely a new addition to my own iPod!