I’ve always found Brooklyn’s Big Eyes pretty hit and miss, but the latest LP has somewhat altered my view on that. This is definitely their most consistent full-length so far, and if you’re a fan of hooks, you’re in for a treat here. Where Big Eyes ‘missed’ in the past was when I thought they straddled too far to the ‘rawk’ side of their sound, but there’s little of that here. Stake My Claim still flits between multiple genres (pop-punk, power-pop, rock ‘n’ roll, indie); pleasingly, it is hard to pin down Big Eyes. There are proper guitar solos present, but there also pop-punk-y melodies in abundance. I think this is probably the poppiest Big Eyes have sounded so far, and it really suits them.
The album kind of moves between the snotty, melodic punk brilliance of “Leave This Town” and “Giving It Up For Good”, and the sunny, laidback power-pop of “Behind Your Eyes” and “Just Not Right”. It is the latter category which is the more novel and interesting one for Big Eyes. There is really room for the lyrics and understated melancholy to breathe on “Just Not Right”, possibly the album highlight. These two songs go close to Best Coast territory at times, without ever really going there. There is always too much Runaways-esque spikiness and spunk for the sound to be that kind of power-pop though. However, the harmonies are every bit as fucking good: listen to “Leave This Town” and tell me any different; “TV and cell phones are a modern curse”, now that is an earworm. So, sound-wise, I would say, imagine if Lipstick Homicide were way into power-pop and had thousand times better production, and that is probably close to what is on Stake My Claim. The lyrics are thoughtful and engaging, and fit the tunes pretty well (particularly on the aforementioned “Leave This Town”). The LP tails off a little bit towards the end, but there is no bad song on this thing. End-of-summer, bittersweet sing-a-longs.