Barely Blind - My Life With a Giant
Release Date: June 2, 2009
Record Label: Unsigned
When the movie Step Brothers starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly came out, there was both mixed criticism about the movie and unending praise. The two actors had done it again; mixing their brand of slapstick comedy with vulgarity that would make a sailor blush, they'd delivered a movie that could have audiences laughing from start to finish. Of course, criticism arose, usually centered around the fact that these guys have, over the course of the last few years, basically used the exact same brand of comedy and just tailored it to different settings. For the casual movie-goer, however, this wasn't an issue. Why this rant, you may ask? Well, because whenever I listen to Barely Blind's My Life With a Giant, my mind always wanders to this same kind of dichotomy.
To put it bluntly, as the last paragraph didn't, My Life With a Giant is basically pop-rock by the numbers. While all the "jokes" are there, the fact that this band plays a brand of pop that many people have gotten their fill of will potentially turn off many listeners much the way that Ferrell's childish antics have turned off many I know from his on-screen performances.
This analogy needs to stop growing, so instead I'll gladly explore the details of My Life With a Giant. Fronted by Brad Cuccio, this three-piece (four with their touring guitarist), have made a splash across this Summer's Warped Tour and in their local scene. Already six years old, you can tell from their jams on My Life With a Giant that the band knows how to play together and do it well. Guitar lines are laced well throughout the song, and though not overly complex, aren't nearly as bad as the sub-par guitar work on many of their contemporaries' albums. In all honesty, Barely Blind is a cut above these bands, surpassing these acts if simply because the songs are well constructed and don't play into every possible cliche. Sure, they're not exactly original, as I'm sure you've surmised by this point, but these seven tracks are much more enjoyable than most of their peers' full albums. Teeming with youthful exuberance, the tracks display a band that fully embraces their strengths while not experimenting too far from the proven formula and displaying weakness. They shine the most in their vocally-driven choruses where Cuccio steals the show from his bandmates. Lyrically, the album is much of what you'd expect from the genre, though the band does show a knack for writing some catchy lyrical hooks (particularly in, once again, those choruses).
So, everything aside, is Barely Blind's My Life With a Giant worth a purchase? If I had to answer in one word, I'd say: certainly. However, for those people that aren't fans of this genre, or that are upset with how stagnant it has become, it's really a hard decision simply because it will either give them more hope, or just not appeal to them. If there is one thing I wish, however, it's that many pop-rock acts would go grab this EP off of iTunes, listen, compare themselves and hopefully either improve or simply give up. And hey, maybe I'm being a tad too harsh on originality, because if history has proven one thing, it would have to be that Step Brothers, despite it's somewhat recycled nature, was still a hilarious movie.
I'm pretty sure I met these guys at the Buffalo Warped. I was close to buying a CD, just because they came all the way from Texas and one of the guys had the best country accent I've ever heard. I didn't though because I wasn't sure how much money I would need for the rest of the day.