Big Heart

Ski Lodge

Dovecote Records, 2013


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


At only 26 years old, Brooklyn's Andrew Marr should be quite proud of his work as Ski Lodge. He wrote all the music and lyrics on his debut Big Heart and played pretty much every instrument on the album. Though topics like alienation, relationship problems and familial strife comprise the songs, musically they are full of mesmerizing choruses and a wealth of dense melodies that keep your mind and body in motion. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Anything To Hurt You” starts off Big Heart with fantastic guitar work and bouncy fun that could have been on a John Hughes soundtrack in 1986 from the scene where the gang is blowing off steam. It's fun, vibrant and full '80s influenced energy. “Just To Be Like You” is the only song where Marr took help from a full band, and results in a dance friendly rocker that flows with incredibly contagious indie pop leanings. Other standouts are the surf rock riffs of “Dragging Me To Hell” and the title track “Big Heart,” which is more folk rock based. “I Can't Tell” closes the album and is a heartfelt piano ballad, almost coming off as Marr's version of "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want,” though it's not quite as desolate, which leads me to a very important point about Ski Lodge.

Much of this is very reminiscent of The Smiths. The vocal delivery, quirky guitars and honest lyrics are nearly spot-on. The contrast of bummer topics against jangly pop music runs very parallel. In fact, it often sounds more like The Smiths than Morrissey solo does. With the last name Marr, maybe he was predestined for this, but as most rabid fans of The Smiths will agree, you really can't get enough admirers citing influence from Morrissey and Marr as long as they are good at it, and Ski Lodge is extremely gifted at their craft. Though nothing in my mind will ever reach the greatness of Hatful Of Hollow, Big Heart is a great nod in that direction and a must for fanatics of indie rock.

Rating: B+

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© 2013 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Dovecote Records, and is used for informational purposes only.