Big Jaw have been a consistent source of guitar-based rock and roll mayhem for a few years now. Big riffs, soaring melodies, and propulsive rhythms build around songs that anyone that’s ever struggled in life or maybe had doubts about themselves can completely connect with. Lead singer, guitarist, and main songwriter Clint Roth has a knack for writing songs that lock into a musical world that seems to combine classic rock guitar crunch, modern pop sheen, and some kind of galactic mojo Roth has conjured from years of musical consumption. James Gang, AC/DC, Queens of the Stone Age, STP, GnR, and Foo Fighters feel like the palate of paint that Roth uses to create his own unique stamp on rock and roll.
The newest Big Jaw release, titled Apophenia, keeps that upward trend going for Big Jaw. It’s a soulful kick in the pants; four tracks that slink and sway with both masterful classic rock strut and modern rock production touches that makes Big Jaw sound like rock and roll for the future.
Apophenia rolls in like a four song shot of adrenaline. Roth’s knack for writing catchy songs is stronger than ever, and EP opener “Nothing Is Real” is a chugging guitar riff-heavy song of epic proportions. Big Jaw balance the heavy with pop-inflected moments, giving their songs a darkness and light. “Nothing Is Real” is a perfect example of that. Then you jump right into “Higher Self”, a motivational uplift of a track that has Roth singing “There’s a way up to something better, A higher version of ourselves” over an almost pop psychedelia vibe. It’s a big, meaty track that has Big Jaw running on all pistons.
“Waves” is a track filled with longing and sadness, but doesn’t lean on ballad tropes and musical cliches to express loss. “Nothing’s gonna last forever, even the deepest darkest blackest ocean, you don’t want to hold me down, I can’t let you go” Clint Roth sings over Big Jaw’s earnest and engaged music. Even in the most emotionally-charged tracks, Big Jaw still know how to lay it all out with big guitars and hearts on sleeves. “Mess Around” closes Big Jaw’s newest EP on a rock and roll moment of levity, filled with funk-infused rhythms, almost hip hop touches in the production, and Roth’s gang vocals singing “Lets mess around” in the chorus.
Perfect end to a perfect EP.
Big Jaw each time out make their albums such an engaging listen. Never falling into easily labeled categories, Clint Roth writes songs that are tight, to the point, and always with some new and exciting sonic touches. Apophenia continues Big Jaw’s trend of greatness. The Austin-based band does it again.
7.9 out of 10