You Deserve It

A Bit Much

Polk Records, 2010

http://www.abitmuch.org

REVIEW BY: Melanie Love

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/28/2010

It’s pretty well-known that I will review anything even slightly reminiscent of Queen. All any indie act has to do is namecheck those quintessential glitz-rockers and I’ll lend an ear. Usually, however, a little Freddie Mercury-esque posturing goes a long way – as in, less directly ripping off their inimitable bombast (The Darkness? Muse? Mika?) and more so throwing in just the right amount of harmonies, swagger, and rich instrumentation.

A Bit Much hails from Boston, Massachusetts and has recently a punchy, flavorful EP, You Deserve It. Even better? They cite Vincent Price, Anton Chekhov, and Freddie Mercury’s mustache among their influences, portending the sort of tongue-in-cheek energy that launched millions of foot stomping and hand claps. nbtc__dv_250

Opener “Minimum Rhythm, Maximum Blues” launches out with a bluesy groove, anchored by the excellently upbeat keyboards (Tim Lillis) and their penchant for harmonies. This is as strong a beginning as any, drawing you into their witty, fast-paced world. Next up, “Starvation Wage” cranks up the guitars and the pathos. The harmonies sound tighter on this one, which was my only real quibble with “Minimum Rhythm, Maximum Blues,” allowing the instrumental play to stand out: swirling guitars, delicate accents of piano, and Jon Glancy’s perfectly subtle thrash of drums. The synthesizers get a bit Styx-ish for my tastes near the end, but they mix it up in a way that foretells some future invention.

Overall, You Deserve It reads somewhat like a snapshot of ‘70s classic rock. There’s the uptempo arena stormers, the meandering, psychedelic guitar freakout (the nearly ten-minute long “You’re Blessing Me” with its slight overtones of the Pink Floyd doom ushered in by layered guitars and ambiance), and hilariously overt titles (“I Can Rock Nobody Like Nobody’s Been Rocked Before”), which sounds like AC/DC at a piano bar in a strangely agreeable way.

Meanwhile, closer “By The People” is the slow-burner that rounds everything out at the end of a show before the encore kicks in. It’s more sparely considered, with the swerving interplay of guitars and keys and Degan McDegan’s just short of over-the-top vocalization. You can almost imagine him in a sequined catsuit for the way that he belts it out, voice soaring to the rafters in a way that rings a lot truer than, say, Justin Hawkins’ (The Darkness) almost painful wailing. His cheerful bombast gives a lightness to these tracks that pairs well with the textured melodies.

So I’ve namechecked basically every classic rock hitmaker in this review, but it’s for good reason, and not in a way that’s meant to disparage A Bit Much’s creativity. They’ve taken some of the best sounds of music’s history and worked them to their benefit. And better yet, you can tell that they’d be an excellent live show. Mr. Mercury’s mustache would be more than intrigued.

Rating: B+

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