Considering The Big I Am base most of their songs around ukelele, cuatro and piano, it’s unlikely they would be compared to The Blue Nile. Yet it is the Scottish band and The Big I Am’s fellow Liverpudlians It’s Immaterial who they most closely resemble on their new album ‘Collecting Skies’.
Vocal duties are shared between Colin Heaney and Peter McPartland and they provide the perfect foils for each other. ‘Better Days’ has an aura of hope and sunshine to contrast with the yearning opener ‘Hole’. String arrangements don’t always help but here they complement the classic songwriting values of the three main protagonists. There might be occasions when the group stick to melodies which seem too simplistic but it’s hard not to be won over by ‘Opposite’s soaring chorus or the excellent closing couplet comprising the beautifully arranged title track and ‘Board Games’, a surprisngly melancholic way to end the record.
As you may expect for a group in their middle ages, The Big I Am create songs addressing everyman concerns, which exude a natural warmth. Equally apparent is that even though the mood and sound is nostalgic, the atmosphere is fresh and vibrant.
The Blue Nile, It’s Immaterial, Mike And The Mechanics