Album of the Week:
BIG HEAVY STUFF – Covered In Bruises
EP 1995 – Currently out of print
2. Covered In Bruises
3. Eye For An Eye
4. Will, There’s A Way
5. American (I’ll be One)
6. White Flag (hidden track)
A couple of years ago my old house/bandmate greeted me as I walked in the door after work one day with a CD in his hand, saying ‘Clint, I’ve been going through my CD collection and I’ve found something you need to listen to, I think you’ll really like it’. It was Big Heavy Stuff’s 1995 EP “Covered In Bruises’. Regardless of the recommendation, this is one instance when the cover image itself invited further investigation. The stark photograph, framed by the handwritten title could be the poster for a horror film:
At this stage I hadn’t even heard of the band. I was really too young to be into them at the time, and by this point all of their output was long out-of-print. What struck me as the first song ‘Birthday’ played, was just how good the dual guitar interplay is. There are only two guitars in the recording, panned hard left and right, but they sound so much heavier than they should. Every instrument has its own space and nothing is muddy. The mix is quite incredible, it’s dry, almost in a lo-fi way, but also incredibly rich. The song itself is catchy as fuck, and the chorus is instantly memorable:
“You can’t doll me up / Just like a queen / Don’t call me ‘cute’ / That’s not my name / You’re not popular / But all that will change / When Sonic Youth play at your birthday”.
Second song ‘Covered In Bruises’ is built on a quirky ascending bassline. When the chorus falls into place it’s C-A-T-C-H-Y:
“There’s a gun in my hand as big as a wound / With a four-letter word becomes a tattoo / ‘Til some genius decides what to do / We can walk on our hands / Get covered in bruises”
‘Eye For An Eye’ is a lumbering, brutal, monster of a song. The music is creepily matched by the lyrics:
“I saw a light through a window that was wound down / An eye for an eye / You could see that they were brown.”
The stalker-ish lyrics song perfectly marry up with the stark cover.
‘Will, There’s a Way’ is a beautiful acoustic tune, with the heavy rhythm section backing off only slightly from the full throttle punch of the earlier songs.
The last billed track, ‘American’, is another lumbering sludgefest of a song. It’s amazing that the songs sound this monstrous considering the cleanness of the production. The guitars and bass are only slightly overdriven, and there’s no fuzz in sight.
The hidden track is actually two songs back to back; a very lo-fi electric guitar and vocal track, followed by the band run-through of ‘White Flag’, which rivals ‘Birthday’ for the best song on this EP. The verse lyrics are mostly gibberish, but the chorus of “Sleaze bag / don’t hold that against me / This is a white flag.” should strike a revealing chord with any chauvinist guy after a few drinks.
Why is ‘Covered In Bruises’ the album of the week? Because it fucking rules. Call yourself a fan of ‘grunge’ music? This is better than a LOT of what came out of Seattle in the early 90’s. The EP has been out of print for a while, as has all of BIG HEAVY STUFF’s material. I was lucky enough to score a copy off ebay last year. If you can find it on CD, snap it up. You won’t regret it.
If all else fails, the ‘Birthday’ single is available here: https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/birthday-single/id6802020
By: Clint Morrow