Whoa! ... talk about OVER-PRODUCED! And I don't toss that term around lightly. This album may constitute - without overstatement - the most insanely overproduced outpouring of musical product ever released.
And by 'over-produced' I don't just mean glossy (which The Big Express
is). I don't just mean LOUD (which it damn well is, the musical equivalent of typing this entire review in block capitals). And I don't just mean over-arranged (which the busy-busy-busy-clockwork working overtime tunes most certainly are). I don't just mean headache-inducing (which it ... well, you get the picture).
WHALLOP! WHALLOP! WHALLOP! That's what this album feels like. The listener's head is incessantly pounded by drums mixed way, way, way up in the mix, that being notably the case with "Shake You Donkey Up" (which sounds as retarded as its title). In fact, every instrument is mixed way, way up high, from the opening pounding piano chords of "Wake Up", competing with Moulding's multi-tracked, beerily-shouted vocals.
Being studio-bound was obviously not doing Partridge and Moulding any favours, as bpth this album and Mummer
suffer from what feels like a pair of grown man-children run amok. The actual sound of Mummer
, obtuse as the tunes were, was actually pleasanter than this over-the-top fruitcake; however, this album's considerably better, as the tunes are more direct, poppily accessible and just plain good.
However ... however, however - getting past this album's production is a huge, huge hurdle. Partridge's lunatic excess gets so extreme that he almost buries the hooks and melodies by parodoxically over-emphasizing them. It's the aural equivalent of shoving a rich creamy chocolate cake in your face - delicious certainly, but not when it's rammed in your face.
by Reviewer: Creative Noise
(blogging at Creative Noise