Album Review: Southern Cuts by Bigwyn

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Bigwyn’s debut album, Southern Cuts, puts a modern twist on the classic punk genre as the band honors their deceased bandmate, Corey Atkinson, with an album dedicated to his memory. Taking influence from bands like Sleeping Patterns, Evanescence, and Silversun Pickups, Bigwyn creates their own unique punk sound that fluctuates from intensity to serenity at the drop of a hat. The gravity of the album and its lyrics serve as a reminder to listeners to tell those you love how you feel about them. 

Atkinson’s simplistic rhythmic style on the bass can still be heard in multiple tracks on the album, including “Let it Ride,” “Office Days,” “San Francisco,” and “Grooveberry.” In an attempt to carry on Atkinson’s legacy, the lead singer, Ian Sousa, learned Atkinson’s bass parts by listening to recorded demos the band had. By paying homage to Atkinson, the band was able to process their loss in a way that would have made him proud.

Alright” is a tour-de-force of sound, opening with Sousa’s gravelly voice, before the rest of the band joins, punching their way into the listener’s ear. Alex Bergeron wails on his drum kit, egged on by guitar player Chris Gollihue and Sousa, as their chords build in strength. Although the band builds to a crescendo during every chorus, their verses are much more reserved, which shows the band’s excellent control and also draws their audience in creating an energetic feel, making the listener want to bang their head and move their feet. 

“Let It Ride,” a classic punk song with a raging electric guitar solo, was originally released as a single by the band earlier in the year. This track starts off with Gollihue providing a drum beat, while Jack Tobin’s bass line drives it forward. Sousa hangs back, letting the band illustrate their power, before joining in with the lyrics halfway through the song. “Let It Ride” elicits a feeling of freedom as the band builds together, echoing a line in their closer “Set Aside” with the first lyric, “To think you could hide you were dying inside on your own.” This line packs a devastating emotional punch, as it shows the loss the band has gone through over the past year.

“Set Aside” stands out dramatically from the rest of the songs on the album due to its stripped-down nature, as Sousa is accompanied by acoustic guitar, soft horns, and strings. Melancholy seeps through with every line that Sousa growls: “to think you could hide / we’re dying inside / wait awhile we’ll find our place, and we’ll go / to hold back is all that you know.” The clash between Sousa’s rough voice and the gentleness of the instrumental backing makes the song even more powerful and a perfect closer for the album showing the band’s love for their departed bandmate.

On Southern Cuts, Bigwyn was able to work through the struggles of the pandemic and the death of a fellow bandmate to put together a dynamic album of love, loss, and freedom. The band hoped that everyone would find a song to connect with on the album, leaving each track to be judged and interpreted by every listener — and they succeeded. 

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