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CD review: BIG BUSINESS, "Mind the Drift"

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big-business-mind-the-driftTwo years after releasing the catchiest sludge metal album in history, BIG BUSINESS are back, this time with a guitarist. For whatever distinction they've lost from being a bass-and-drums duo until now, they've kept their knack for facelifting infectiousness out of a heavy low end. Noob TOSHI KASAI rarely plays anything resembling JARED WARREN's bass progressions, but both musicians somehow sound organized under the charge of COADY WILLIS, who proves that creativity in metal drumming needn't come with blast beats.

In a more enlightened world, Big Business would be tackling the FM airwaves, and Mind the Drift indicates that such a day is no longer unforeseeable. It's not as fast or aggressive as Here Come the Waterworks, but the melodies still dominate–think Big Business' equivalent of following Reign in Blood with South of Heaven. The one chord, sub-"BennieĀ  and the Jets" stomp of "The Drift" is dominated by a Warren vocal line that sounds like it was rescued from a chain gang, and "Cats, Mice." has a nursery rhyme hook over a wandering guitar lead trying to find it's way out of a scale. Fans drawn to Big Business by their sense of humor will still find plenty to like (especially the fretful, chorus-less "I Got it Online,") and the band's experiments keep paying off, from the organ-fueled "Ayes Have It" to the solemn, theatrical "Theme from Big Business II," which takes nearly one-fourth of the entire album to suggest that Big Business have untapped potential in traditional American music. Thank Satan they're wasting it by making albums like this one.

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