Graphic Nature: Big Eyes - Almost Famous

Graphic Nature, Local Music
Sam Hart

Dilating their punkish pupils since their debut release Hard Life, Brooklyn’s Big Eyes set their sights on a musically matured sound for their sophomore 2013 album, Almost Famous. Ingrained within the Seattle scene in both sights and sonics, KEXP caught up with singer/songwriter Kait Eldridge to discuss visual inspirations and the use of a local landmark for the backdrop for the Almost Famous cover art. Digging deeper into the thought process behind the name Almost Famous, Eldridge explains, “the album is named after the movie (of the same name) which always gave me strong feelings of nostalgia and hopefulness, even when I first saw it at age 13. I wanted our album cover to convey those same feelings. I've always had a bit of sarcastic seriousness with the art for Big Eyes. I don't know if that comes across to other people, but it's making fun of ourselves a bit as well. I moved to Seattle from NYC in late 2011 to be able to have Big Eyes be more of a full time band, and this record was greatly influenced by that relocation.”

With the band based in Seattle for the recording of the album, the group decided upon the ethereal ambiance of The Great Hall at Union Station for the Almost Famous cover shoot. “I've always thought the most classic, iconic albums had photos as their cover art,” says Eldridge. “Our first LP had a photo for the cover (with a completely different lineup) so I also thought it'd be fitting (and kind of funny) to keep that theme.”

Masterfully constructed under the watchful eye lens of photographer Emily Denton, the shoot captures a juxtaposition between the elegant beauty of the 11,000 square-foot Union Station ballroom and the unkempt, lackadaisical appearance of the group. “We took a bunch of similarly themed photos in and outside of that train station,” she notes. “We wanted the photo to tell a story of a band leaving home without bringing much with them, or knowing what the future would bring, just really going for it.” It could be a strong case of life imitating art with Kait transporting the band back across the country shortly after the release of the album.

On par with the idea that travel broadens the mind, the album's cover art is the visual representation of a band willing to expand their audio pallet. With a greater emphasis on crushed-velvet guitar distortion and liquid poppish strumming, Almost Famous softened the rough edges of the past - making way for some honeyed, heartfelt rock melodies and a more balanced, confident sound.

Big Eyes currently have 7-inch single in the works right now scheduled to come out in the fall, with a new LP to follow in the winter. Make sure to pick up your copy from the bands bandcamp or at any good record store. As usual, to keep up to date with the group make sure you check out their official page and give them a like on facebook. In the meantime, let's all rock out to their catchy "Back From the Moon" video below:

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