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Fifteen years ago, Fountains of Wayne released their eponymous debut LP, a near-perfect set of twelve power-pop songs supercharged with clever lyrics about life on both sides of the bridges and tunnels which connect New York and New Jersey. The second single from that record, “Sink to the Bottom,” managed to turn the line “I just wanna…” into a powerful B chorus.
Even this many years later, it’s impossible to hear Jersey quartet Big Troubles turn that same phrase into the hook of “Misery” without thinking of their musical forebears. It isn’t just the repetition of the lyric–it has as much to do with the fact that Big Troubles tap into the mid-1990s musical zeitgeist, that post-grunge, slacker rock era when there was no shortage of excellent bands getting signed to major labels, a Superdrag for every Superchunk.
“Misery,” the second song on the band’s debut, Romantic Comedy, has an earnestness and a strain of melancholy absent from the FoW catalog, but the core promise to the listener is essentially the same: memorable melodies flanked by smart guitar parts. Although Big Troubles play it subdued, there is clearly an affinity here for the classic power-pop sensibility admired by fellow tri-staters Free Energy. Where those two sounds come together–at the intersection of 120 Minutes and Big Star–is where you’ll find Big Troubles.
Click here to listen to Romantic Comedy on Spotify.