Churchills – Big Ideas


Only 1 left in stock


Format: CD (Digipak)
Label: Corporate Greed
Catalogue: 0101001
Barcode: 6 56613 86932 1
Country: US
Year: 2002

Condition: New

US edition.

01. Lights Are On But No One’s Home
02. One Foot In The Grave
03. Run Out Of Things To Say
04. Sugar Daddy
05. Na Na
06. Blind Deaf ANd Dumb
07. Me And My Big Ideas
08. To Each His Own Cubicle
09. Close My Eyes
10. Ordinary
11. Smile
12. She Won’t Let It Go
13. Please Carolyn
14. Did What I Did
15. Dear Jon


Upon hearing Big Ideas, the superb third full-length album from the Churchills, it’s safe to say that the trio are putting the power back into power pop. You may have seen the New York band from exposure on Meadow Soprano’s T-shirts in The Sopranos, but you wouldn’t recognise them from their previous 2000 record, You Are Here. Since then, they’ve parted company with Universal Records, lost a guitarist and found a drummer, but in the process beefed up their sound considerably. Oh, and they’ve also made one of the best pop-rock albums of 2002. Emphatic openers “Lights Are on But No-one’s Home” and “One Foot in the Grave” prove the band has successfully made the shift from the slightly overproduced feel of their debut to a leaner, meaner and more energetic sound that still effortlessly brims with pop magic. The title track is gloriously warm and fuzzy, album highlight “Ordinary” is simply brilliant and “Please Carolyn” is heartfelt without being mushy. Elsewhere, “Run Out of Things to Say” screams ‘hit’, “Blind Deaf and Dumb” is melody defined and “Na Na” is dreamily hypnotic. What’s more, the Churchills have matched the power in their music by not only releasing this masterpiece independent of a major label’s assistance, but also by financing their own touring and retail operations. Big ideas indeed.


I had casually listened to this album and really dug it. It has catchy tunes easily grasped. But I recently took the time to carefully, carefully listen to the CD, and I’ve come to the conclusion that this disc can reveal another, deeper level – evidencing the hard work that went into its making. Seeing the band live, the most common adjective I’ve heard to describe The Churchills’ sound is “sweet.” Guitarist Ron Haney’s voice is silky, and bassist Bart Schoudel’s is smooth. In tandem, the sound yields honey. But the CD takes the typical sweet power pop sound and adds a new dimension of experimentation and interest. The busy production adds so many contrasting new ideas to the songs that the listener does not get bored. As for the lyrics, they mostly come from a scary dark place – dealing with domestic violence, suicide and other bleakness.

To illustrate – the most accessible track is “Ordinary”, a seemingly ordinary beautiful and sweet pop song about unrequited love. But here are a few things which make this track special – 1) a ghostly synthesizer, hardly audible in places, which conflicts totally with the melody 2) so many layers of disjointed foreground guitar lines, it’s hard to keep track of them, but somehow they work as a whole 3) a split-second syncopation of Alex Smolinski’s drum beat, in fact the propulsion of this song often threatens to come to a dead halt before picking up again. But you wouldn’t notice these things unless you listened with both ears.
The delights of this CD are many – from the non-PC humorous lyrics of “Lights are on but No One’s Home”, (I mean is stupidity something usually screamed about in song? ) to the evident sadness of “Dear Jon” with its Beach Boy-like background vocals and improbable happy ending. On the way are stops for the exuberance of “Sugar Daddy”, the beautiful ballad “Smile”, and the anthemic “Please Carolyn”. What a step forward for this New York band.


Additional information

Weight 0.060 kg