On their forthcoming album, Two Parts Together, Big Ups ruminate on life’s greatest contradictions and manifest their uncertainties in songs that’ll leave you with more questions than answers (in the best way possible). Following 2014’s excellent debut, Eighteen Hours of Static, and 2016’s fully-rendered sophomore LP Before A Million Universes, the Brooklyn post-hardcore four-piece will release Two Parts Together this Friday. This time around, things get pretty metaphysical.
“What’s latent? What’s hiding? Obscured? What’s unknown? What’s dormant? Untapped?” probes Big Up’s vocalist, Joe Galarraga on the ominous, second track, “In The Shade.” It’s a good glimpse into some of the album’s inquiries.
Each track on Two Parts Together is sinewy and tense, and while some more sprawling than others, most all of them try to find meaning in mystery. It’s a short album, but these eight songs delve into realms of the tangible and the abstract, with Galarraga’s lyricism boasting images of cavernous lakes, bubbling bacteria, and invisible dogs. On “PPP,” the album’s thrashy fourth track, Galarraga muses: “Close up against one of many faces/ It could be anything or everything all at once/ Remove yourself from the equation/ It exists whether you do or do not.”
Big Ups reign supreme when it comes to creating and releasing tension both sonically and emotionally, navigating through raucous and quiet dynamics with dexterity, and pitting knotted rhythms against intense instrumentation. Besides tackling broader philosophical questions of liminality on this album, Big Ups expand their sonic textures this time around, adding strings, piano, and field recordings to the mix. They’ve always been an innovative band when it comes to experimenting with tempos and rhythms, but the song structures on Two Parts Together are especially absorbing; Amar Lal’s razor-sharp guitar work is anchored by Finn’s crashing percussion and Salguero’s heavy, driving bass.
Two Parts Together is a foray into the vast, unresponsive universe, as well as a meditation on the band’s existential anxieties. Stream it below.
Two Parts Together is out 5/18. Pre-order it here.