For what Big Deal lack in originality, they make up in unabashed emotiveness. A boy-girl duo operating in the lo-fi tradition of semi-acoustic confessionals, this London-based pair meld the forlorn pinings of Best Coast with the sparse tones of Cass McCombs and Kurt Vile. It’s all been very much done before, especially the fixation with young and fleeting romance, but somehow that doesn’t matter. The songs are so fragile you’re drawn to cling onto them for fear that if you don’t, they’ll be whisked away on a passing breeze.
The dynamics between Alice Costelloe and KC Underwood are painlessly simple; Costelloe plays guitar and sings lead vocals, Underwood plays guitar and sings backing vocals. Aside from a sparsely used, GarageBand-engineered string section that’s really it and ‘it’ packs quite the gut-wrenching punch. “My words won’t work, I make things worse, You’re cool like Kurt,” whispers our meek siren in homage to her alt-rock hero on the standout track ’Cool Like Kurt’.
With most bands such a blatant tip of the hat would be seen as a cynical name check, certainly a ham fisted one. So how do Big Deal get away with it? Well they’re a genuine bunch for starters. ‘Homework’ is proof this band stick to writing about what they know and what they love. What they know may be worryingly slight given every track on ‘Lights Out’ is fixated with some sort of frisson. It’s a vicious cycle as well, their album is so all-consumingly wondrous Costelloe will undoubtedly have to put off the start of her planned university course in Autumn this year. If she hasn’t already done so that is.
For a record obsessed with instant infatuation however, what surprises most is its lack of immediacy. Just like the blink and you’ll miss it flutters of your stomach when someone remarkable walks by, it takes familiarity to realise the tender sensations of associated with ‘Chair’, ‘Seraphine’ and ‘Talk’ aren’t a passing fad. There’s a depth to Costelloe and Underwood’s partnership which stretches beyond their humble years and will withstand the pressures of a media fuss instigated after the group’s second ever gig. Instant gratification may be what Big Deal long for but if they keep painting heartbreak as elegantly as this, they’ll be in it long for the haul.