What do you get when you mix early Third Eye Blind, matchbox twenty, Train with a hint of Billy Joel and Pearl Jam? You get Central Florida modern rock act Big 10-4, a recent signing of Universal Records. After years of toiling in the regional Southeast rock scene, Big 10-4 comes forward with an impressive album debut that is sure to get the younger crowd into the lush arena modern rock that Pearl Jam has crafted into perfection over the years.
Big 10-4’s ‘Testing the Atmosphere’ is a 12-track uptempo arena modern rock debut. It starts with their most-advertised single to regional modern rock outlets, ‘Walking Disaster,’ which this writer being a Cubs fan sees this as the Cubs anthem for the season so far. ‘Irony Is Thick’ is a lyrical and real-life journey that highlights the seeming contradiction of being a rock star at night but a nobody during the day. ‘Crazy’ is probably the second strongest song in the set, which is also the most emotional song of the set accentuated by this lyric:
”Just to see your smile and to hear your voice,
I’d wait forever it’s your choice,
'Cause you're driving me, so damn crazy
'Cause you're driving me, so damn crazy”
The album is also a welcome relief from the slew of modern rock acts who believe its best to have every track clock under 3:30, thinking that everyone likes the snappy rock anthems that have permeated rock radio lately. Their shortest track is ‘Irony,’ which is clocked at a comparatively snappy and short 3:13 but the song and its lyrics call for that. After ‘Deadman,’ which comes in at 3:51, every remaining track is no shorter than 4:06 and last track ‘Oxygen’ comes in at 5:46, making for a very satisfying finish to an impressive debut.
All in all, Big 10-4’s debut should get the younger crowd into arena rock and while Pearl Jam has shown they’re not ready to abdicate their throne, when they do, hopefully Big 10-4 is at a spot where they are ready. Big 10-4 has potential to make arena rock for the younger crowd vogue like Pearl did when they first broke in.
”Would you validate me/Before you break me in?”
They certainly have validated themselves as one of 2006’s must-see acts and hopefully audiences outside of the Southeast will do the same. For those who enjoy matchbox twenty (or miss them), early Third-Eye Blind, Goo Goo Dolls, or Train, Big 10-4 is a must.
Big 10-4: “Testing the Atmosphere”
Band members: Dan Verduin (vocals, guitar, piano), Matt Verduin (guitar), Jimmy Russo (drums, percussion), Matthew Reed (bass)
Label: Republic/Universal Records
Alan Ho is the founder and chief head of Musiqtone and is currently looking for possible material for his inagural podcast...if it ever happens. Please e-mail him at email@example.com.