This 2008 release by The
Bigfellas is one of the most interesting records I have heard
in a long time. Full of tongue-in-cheek satire, playful lyrics and
melodies, and a sophisticated sense of music to suit the topic, The
Bigfellas are an intellectual pop fan's dream. These guys are
the MAD magazine of modern pop - a bunch of "What Me Worry"
Alfred E. Newmans on the stage.
Not many will pick up on the subtle jabs in the lyrics or
"samples" in the music first time around, so the record
demands repeated listens. For example, catch the switch to U2's "Bullet
the Blue Sky" in the coda of "California King", which
happens to be one of the most accessible and catchy numbers on the
record. And then there is the seemingly goofy rap song called "On
The Green" which is based on the 70s hit "Love's Theme"
by Love Unlimited Orchestra. Not a favorite, but the
juxtaposition of gangsta rap with the hard knocks life of golf is
hilarious. The band takes similar satirical risks with "I Wish That
I Were Gay". But we're all about the hooks and melodies here; while
there are plenty of such moments scattered throughout "Chubbed
Up", few of songs sustain them for the entirety of their rather
lengthy duration. In addition to "California King",
"Dollar For Every Dime" and "Adam and Eve and Red and
Alice" hold up very well for repeated listens. The more serious
ballad, "Wish You Knew" is unexpectedly moving and a definite
highlight. Fans of ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky" may
be interested in the banjo-driven cover, included as a bonus track on
There is a very strong Ben Folds vibe here, both in the
'everyday kind of guy' tone of the singer's voice and the fact that most
of the tunes are based around catchy piano riffs. Many others have
already noted the comparison to Randy Newman as well. The
Bigfellas have been voted "Best Local Band In San
Diego" for 2006 and 2007. In the areas of novelty, musicianship,
and satire, The Bigfellas don't come up short.