Bigfoot Wallace - Songs For The Larva
Record Label: Independent
Release Date: March 5, 2013
When I found Jon Hubbel’s music last year, I was immediately surprised at the intricate composition of the songs. Bigfoot Wallace, the stage name of Hubbel, released his debut Malleable in 2011, a collection of electronic driven rock, akin to early-2000s Radiohead. His second album, Songs For Larva, continues in that vein.
The album’s opener “Without Pay” is a gorgeous and short introduction of what’s to come, with line’s like “Does it break your heart/when I let you down?” Hubbel’s lyrics have always veered toward the spiritual, and this album is no exception. Things change gears pretty quickly though with standout track “Ishallnotwant”, a song that brings those Radiohead comparisons rushing back. The song also borrows much from The Postal Service as well, with furious drum machines and smooth vocoded vocals overtop.
It’s here that I should mention the use of voice effects on the album. On his first album, the effects did very little to distract from the songs. Here, however, the vocoder can become overbearing on some of the songs. This was most evident for me on “Patient”, a track full of noise that ventures into Akron/Family territory, where I found the effects to be too much. By the end of the song, though, it found it’s sweet spot. When the effects die down, Hubbel’s lyrics are free to shine again: “Stupid song/The length is way too long/Yet the words in my head/are better sung than said.”
The second half of the album delves into slow, almost electro-pop, with songs like “Candle” and “Larva Song.” The highlight of this slower second half is “Make Me New”, which brings to mind the best of Sufjan Steven’s Age of Adz, while giving Hubbel’s knack for composition a chance to really show.
The album ends on the soft horns and piano of “Too Many Friends”. This song allows the vocals and lyrics to come to the forefront, something I wished for more of throughout the album. “Wake us up/The seasons drain the cup/Stay awake sons/The beast has not won”, he sings over a synth and drum machine tandem.
Overall, I found this to be a very enjoyable album, that despite its flaws, borrows from some great influences while creating something unique. I look forward to seeing Bigfoot Wallace grow as a writer and composer, and continuing to carve his own path.