September 4, 2008

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Bigelf, Cheat the Gallows
Custard Records, Sept. 12

If Jeff Lynne of ELO had been a horror fan, hadn’t been an uncannily great songwriter and Ozzy was his singer this is what might have resulted. But Bigelf has no problem playing second fiddle 30-odd years after the fact, and in fact such rich hindsight has allowed a lot of (intentionally, lord hear our prayer) funny little quirks into their time warp, perhaps even more so than in their debut, praised, or so I recall doing, on this page last year.

I have to admit that your Saeger alarm should be going off, since in this record’s case I didn’t become nauseatingly familiar with the songs; my diagnosis of a half-assed songwriting job was arrived at strictly through a couple of passes made while being on the lookout for slam-dunk listenability, thus a ham-handed CSI is in order simply because the chances are astronomical that I detest what you usually listen to. So here goes: “Gravest Show on Earth” is the Elton John band doing your least favorite Ozzy song, and…

Oh shut up — these fire-tailed wingnuts want to be Alan Parsons Project and Pink Floyd rolled into one is what it is. All that’s missing is a slightly better job of recording the lead singer and they’d bum-rush the whole ’70s-nostalgia marketing space. A Eric W. Saeger