Collecting Skies by The Big I am deals in cinema-scrapes, an open sound that create atmospheric pictures, imagine them projected in black and white onto a screen under the night sky on a warm summer evening. This is achieved through both the rhythmic and orchestral music and honest, open and at times abstract lyrics. Hole begins the album, a lush rich sound, with meaningful lyrics, ‘there’s a hole in the neighbourhood, a hole where the people stood’, conjuring you into a daydream with a nighmareish tinge. Better Days follow, which to me comes across as a love song, ‘everyday come what may you shine, we’ve both seen better days’. A love song that is honest, open and hints at a bright future.
Opposite of Something has a sad tinge to it, a simple piano tune connects you to the song, whilst Wim’s arrangement of wood instruments pulls at your emotions, which prick up at the lyrics, ‘I’ll be standing in plain sight, brush against your side, I’ll be here for years’. This appeal to me as the slow sad moment of the film the album is conjuring in my mind. A Hedge and Heaven and Hell, ‘the sunny street, it’s warm outside, you kid yourself that you are alive, the rain falls down and covers you, the rain will wash away the truth’, is full of anger and sounds as if he wants revenge, but then there is the feeling of the torture of knowing you are better out of this relationship, but then you see her and she looks well.
The title track, Collecting Skies has a feeling of departure, of moving on, starting again, ‘I think of this, I think of you, I’ve got time to sail around these streets … take this boy, take this town, I’ll be gone before you know it’, finishing with the refrain, ‘I could go collecting skies, I could live a million years and never understand what is here’. The music too drifts you away, calling you to move along.
Collecting Skies is a complete album, at odds perhaps with the modern digital age focusing on singles, but oddities are good in my book. There is a coherent musical sound, with songs flowing into each other. I also get the sense of a band having fun, enjoying themselves, creating music that is passionate, real, romantic and true. I recommend Collecting Skies to you.
Read my interview with The Big I am and find out about their song writing process and musical influences.
Collecting Skies is available to buy from The Big I Am.
Posted: 9 April 2019