Just before their fifth annual Red Rocks dance party Rowdytown V, Big Gigantic, the livetronica duo dropped a serious leftm turn that takes the fun-focused EDM sound that they were born with and elevates the musicianship and style to another realm.
Whereas previous Big G releases and remixes have seen the duo more than dabble with lyric-based tracks, Brighter Future full-on embraces a slew of collaborators that puts not just the album but Big Gigantic itself in genres it was never designed to go in, and it does so effortlessly. Brighter Future can, and maybe should be filed under hip-hop just as easily as it fits into Big G’s traditional EDM categorization, but doing so would also negate the pop and funk influences that are all over the album.
Brighter Future starts with the insanely funky “Odyssey Pt. 1” which features a bouncy, sliding bass line emphasizing a fairly obvious EDM theme. But just past the one-minute mark, right when a classic big drop is expected, the track abruptly stops, and switches to a vignette of jangling keys and a voice saying “let’s go.” The next 20 seconds are the ambient noise of a car rolling away — almost as if it’s driving away from Big G’s previous sound, because the very next track “The Little Things” (featuring Angela McCluskey) takes off into a mélange of pop, dance music, old-school funk and hip-hop. And so it goes for Brighter Future producer, sax, keys and laptop slayer Dominic Lalli, and perma-man-bun drummer Jeremy Salken who continually hit a funk-laden version of Big G’s dance soundtracks with a massive cast of supporting artists adding vocals. From Pell’s work on “Miss Primetime,” Griz on “C’Mon,” Waka Flocka Flame on “Highly Possible,” as well as Jennifer Hartwick’s trumpet leads on “Got The Love” and “I’ve Gotta Know,” and Natalie Creeman on “No Apologies,” Big Gigantic flexes an ample cast of guests. “Bring The Funk Back” is one of the only tracks without a featured vocalist, but the track isn’t without lyrics as the title is repeated in various synthesized orations. Cherub provides vocals over the disco beat of “Wide Open” and Naaz is the final guest vocalist on the album’s optimistic dreamy title track.