Le Big Zero At Arms Length
Le Big Zero—the experimental indie quartet in their final and truest collaborative form—returns with a new EP to follow up last year’s quirky gem, A Proper Mess. Riding upon the shoulders of giants that came before, and citing influences like Parquet Courts, Les Savy Fav, Pavement, and Speedy Ortiz, the band brings mammoth waves of jagged intensity dotted with brief moments of resolve. Opening track “Watch it Burn” immediately boxes your ears with biting guitars wound tight with intricate composition. It’s undeniably punchy, and super catchy, knocking you slightly off balance due to their stylemarked odd time drenched in vocal harmony.
The record is full of nerdy breakdowns and explosive breakouts. Lead single “Toy” however, serves a direct hit, busting through syncopated mood shifts, discord, and toe curling vocal movements. Ben Ross (bass) and Lukas Hirsch (drums) do a lot of the heavy lifting here, rhythmically tying in echoes of The Toadies crossed with that side of Foo Fighters that was trying to achieve Sunny Day Real Estate.
Having evolved over time, finally landing on this lineup of players, the band leaned on each other this go-round in a way that wasn’t possible before due to their prior history of cross-country moves and a rotating cast of crucial but temporary bandmates. The result here was much of the album coming together organically in the rehearsal space, over the course of extended jams. “We knew the new two-guitar approach would wholly change the song-writing process and how songs would develop,” explains Michael Pasuit (guitar, vocals).
Together with Katie Cooney (guitar, vocals, and keyboards), Pasuit has struck the perfect balance. Their voices beautifully interlock like they’ve always belonged to each other and have spend all of existence just searching to coexist. Cooney brings a subtle snark and an almost Tracy Bonham-like quality that offsets Pasuit’s Get Up Kids delivery. Between its big chords, and slacker grunge moments, the angular math rock at its core is only slightly masked by its pop sensibility. In this way, “Nice to Meet You” is the clear hero of this record. It’s a peppy banger who’s quick zig zags and clear hooks are further punctuated by its windier slower sections.
Le Big Zero sets out to defy expectations. Expect the unexpected from the this unassuming band of weirdos as you deep dive into At Arms Length. Maybe for a minute we forget the world is a crazy place and the skies are constantly burning. Maybe we let go of our shitty days and share a brief moment of connection with another human person. Maybe we can take the whole crazy system and turn it on its damn head.
At Arms Length is out now via Mint 400 Records and is available on all major streamers.