Big Star – In Space

Well, I suppose there’s not much more albums out there that were so eagerly awaited like this one. The first impression is that the (almost) thirty year wait was worth enough to place it alongside the classic Big Star legacy.

Considering the fact that it took a while for Alex Chilton to even talk about it, let alone record a whole album of brand new songs under the name, it’s refreshing to hear the opening Dony, containing every single one of the essential ingredients that made them one of the ultimate power-pop genre originators.

Funnily enough, the only other songs on the album which will take you close enough to THE Big Star, are the moody popsike of Hung Up With Summer and to some extent, the mid’60s-inspired Byrdsy pop perfection February’s Quiet. Most of the remainder of the album is just as great, though in a bit of a different way.

For example, the presence of the newborn Big Star(s), is clearly evident through Lady Sweet, which sounds much more like The Posies track, with Jon Auer’s lead vocal making the impression even stronger, while the contribution of Ken Stringfellow (besides him shining throughout the album with incredible bass Macca-ronies) is showcased the best through his own vocal delivery of Turn My Back On The Sun, which, in spite of it’s title, actually sees them looking right at the Wilsonian, West Coast-ish, sunshiny harmony pop for main inspiration.

Best Chance is a great pop song, arranged so that I can almost hear Norman Withfield leading it through another early Motown classic that never was, along with The Temptations doing the steps around him, Love Revolution is a Latino funky little piece that isn’t so bad as it actually might sound kinda out of place, and oddly enough, though not unexpectedly, according to Big Star, a plain rock’n’roll Chuck-le is still considered to be A Whole New Thing.

Also worth the mention is the incredibly cool choice to cover The Olympics’ upbeat soul stomper Mine Exclusively (recently also heard among The Action’s unreleased BBC vaults on Uptight And Outasight).

So, Alex Chilton doesn’t really seem so “in space” as the rumours might suggest, in fact, it seems that he’s ready as ever to become a “big star” he’s always deserved to be.

[Released by Ryko 2005]

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