The Bigger Lovers – This Affair Never Happened . . . and Here Are Eleven Songs About It

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist (part 3)

Okay, I don’t know why this goddamn album image is so fucking large; I’ve tried six ways til Sunday to fix it and I can’t. More importantly, I’m also at a loss as to why it was three albums and out for this band, but power pop is hardly a recipe for stardom or wealth (THOUGH IT SHOULD BE), so I assume that having given it their best shot, the Bigger Lovers called it a day. It’s a shame that bands like this can’t find the audience they deserve, but then again, the fact that I can say this about so many bands I like perhaps means that my tastes (and those artists’) are just not mainstream enough.

What I Think of This Album

Arguably the sunniest and most purely power pop (down to a cover of the Only Ones) of the Bigger Lovers’ three albums, it is not the concept album the title implies, but that was probably a fake-out all along, as opposed to an unkept promise.

The desperate and pleading “You (You, You)” is another great Side One:Song One from the Bigger Lovers, with an insistent bass rumble and spot-on drumming by Pat Berkery; “same old shit / different year” is correct, but not in a bad way this time. The bass line eventually turns into the Go-Go’s’ “We Got the Beat.” The band eases up on the throttle with “I Resign,” which nonetheless should melt hearts across the world. “Blowtorch” strides forward aggressively on infinite eighth-notes, and the sweet backing vocals do nothing to undermine Brett Tobias’s destructive intentions. The gaff-sized slide guitar hook that appears partway into “Slice of Life” is unnecessary but completely appropriate to a song that was already bopping along irresistibly, thanks mostly to a staccato piano and jumpy bass; the organ outro is cool.

The sonics of ballad “No Heroics” are the best thing about it; still, this is one of the band’s better slow songs. A gritty glam (if there is such a thing) infuses “You Don’t Feel Anything At All” – this time the intriguing sonics pair up with a better song. A more traditional presentation is employed for the classicist “Peel It Away,” with a economical and biting lead guitar line. The cover of “You’ve Got to Pay” is patently heartfelt, from one underappreciated band to another. The canon of sad Christmas songs gets a sterling new addition with “For Christ’s Sake.”

The instrumental credits in the liner notes lack all vowels, which makes it harder than you might think to figure out what is going on. The band apparently toured with the Minus 5, the Waxwings, and Outrageous Cherry – all lineups I would have been very happy to see.

The Best Thing About This Album

“You (You, You)” is a perfectly honorable song for this band to bow out with.

Release Date

March, 2004

The Cover Art

I’m a fan. The baleful praying mantis well reflects the sentiments of the bitterly self-aware title; the composition is excellent, with lots of white space; and I like the large, thin sans-serif font for the band name, as well as how the “i” and the “l” line up and how the “bigger” is, you know, bigger.

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