Grabaciones en el Mar, Spain
by Andrew Casillas
The use of dreams as a songwriting device usually results in far more misses than hits. While there are certainly a few gleaming examples out in the pop canon, from the Everly Brothers’ “All I Have to Do is Dream” to Bob Dylan’s 115th to Shakira’s “Ojos Así,” for the most part, any sort of visio is relegated as an easy crutch, or a cheap excuse for an artist to engage in whatever fanciful crap they can throw onto a lyric sheet while still claiming artistic “vision.”
All of which makes what Bigott does all the more special. If his music has a modus operandi, it’s undoubtedly the examination of dream-like states. However, Bigott doesn’t see dreams as a metaphor for real-life, what’s revealed within each song is a mini-examination of one-man’s carnal psyche. Sex, death, booze, pretty flowers, prettier girls; these are the subjects of an average Bigott song, with all of the obsessions, narcissism, and neuroses that accompany them.
If Bigott’s new album, This is the Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship, details the current state of the artist’s slumberworld, than this appears to be a world where Errol Flynn, Larry Bird, and Dean Martin make guest appearances in the same way that former SNL cast members show up on 30 Rock. The album’s wry, dry, and provocative tone is set form the album’s very first lyric, “I said to the doctor ‘Can you help me with my Mum?’ And he said ‘Oh, your Mum is out of tune.’” Such a statement can’t help but exhibit an equal amount of shock and intrigue out of the listener; luckily, the rest of the delightfully morbid lead single “Dead Mum Walking” is just as interesting, with Bigott’s Matt Berninger-like vocals clashing just right with the dour, sprite instrumentation. Other highlights pop up from time to time, from the chipper and charismatic “Sparkle Motion,” to the Jose Gonzalez-but-way-more-fun vibe of “Pachanga,” to the thumping, resolute “Not Drunk Today,” the best of this album is a tour-de-force of funny, tragic, engaging, and sometimes sexy folk-rock.
Yet, you’ll notice that this album’s rating falls just a bit short of Descatado territory. I’d love to give an extrapolated, well-thought out, critical reason for this, but this is of course the internet, so I’ll just be blunt. Where Bigott decidedly succeeded on Fin was when he was accentuating the sour, sort of self-flagellation of love and heartbreak’s intersection. On here, there’s a sort of hangover effect. The song’s are shorter and less detailed, and even the few that go on for longer than three and a half minutes contain much juice.
That’s not to say that any of the above are necessarily bad things. What’s lost on This is the Beginning… is the freewheeling spirit that he last two albums made sound so effortless. But by no means is this album a misstep. It’s just a bump in the road. And considering the man’s prolific nature and past productivity, Bigott’s sure to steer himself in the right direction soon. He probably just needs to take a couple of good naps first.