Under Review

Under Review: Big Rig, Big Rig

Todd McCluskie

Big Rig most definitely has some “twang.” It’s not surprising then that the Vancouver band enlists banjo player Geoffo Reith as part of their four piece alt-country ensemble. Now I must confess the banjo is quite possibly my least favourite stringed instrument, however, it works rather well in this line up. Go figure. Big Rig is rounded out by Kyle on drums, Giles Roy on bass and vocalist/guitarist Jen Twynn Payne. Payne penned all the songs for Big Rig’s self titled cassette and digital album released June 24, 2022 on Peaceful Tapes.

Track one (of seven) on the album is titled “Bachelorette.” A jingly jangly diddy of sweetness — there’s that banjo — quite pleasant to listen to and sort of reminiscent of the Buckingham/Nicks era Fleetwood Mac track “Never Going Back Again.” A nice tidy production that lends itself to the hooky pop sensibility of Big Rig. Payne’s understated but alt sort of phrasing is rather refreshing. “She’s feeling kinda lonely tonight / And she wonders what everyone else got right.” Next up “Crying in a Corn Maze” a little more indie and less country but just as effective, “Everything will turn out fine / If you want it to/ Everything will turn out fine if you want it.” Our third song “Clozer” contains a positivity, a lightness that can’t help but get a smile going. “Happy Song” contains a reflective, hopeful tone that is sitting with me just right. Sing songy goodness — maybe everything will be alright after all. “Lemons” dabbled with a country feel and a melodic twang to the lead vocals. A thoughtful track made for a lazy day of looking back… The final songs “Open 83” and “Venus Retrograde” conclude my Big Rig experience.

There’s an overall cohesiveness to this album that rises above and beyond the individual tracks. Without a lyric sheet to dissect the songs, the overall vibe projects a general feeling of well being and vague familiarity. The songs may not be that distinguishable on their own, but the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts. Big Rig is the antithesis of doom and gloom — more hope and cope. A positivity that may be arriving at a time when we could all use a little more. The evasive sun is now breaking, if only for a moment. There’s a vulnerability, a clarity, a peacefulness to this collection of songs that I find most agreeable. The 21 minutes and 5 seconds of Big Rig’s open chord bliss took me somewhere else, somewhere better, and there’s clearly nothing wrong with a “twang” like that.