The vibrant opening notes of Slow Fascination, the new record from Big Search, feel like a big, warm explosion of color. Like Big Star on steroids, “Slow Motion Train” introduces us to a world filled with the kind of majestic pop melody that makes us open our eyes a bit wider and smile-cry at the sheer beauty of it. A collective of sorts led by Matt Popieluch, Big Search combines the forces of melodic mastery of Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste and The Shins’ James Mercer, just to name a few. Slow Fascination is a true collaborative effort, brimming with guest artists and bursting with California sunshine and existential ennui.
That ennui isn’t the dark, brooding kind, though. Slow Fascination is bright and airy, lifted up by Popieluch’s gentle vocals. Save for a handful of mellow moments on songs like “Love Anew” and “Stillness in the Air,” this album thrives when it’s larger than life. Inspired by a wild ride in Popieluch’s life, including a divorce, an identity crisis, and a quest to find himself again, the result is a stunning series of songs that elevate these experiences to a fantastical, almost heroic place. “Til the Day is Done” captures that sense of comfort and contentment we feel when we end up exactly where we’re supposed to be at the end of the day, and it’s told through shimmering harmonies worthy of the Beach Boys or Nilsson. “Wire Walker” is spaced out and epic in scale, utilizing those same harmonies buzzing with frenetic energy that makes us want to get up and run toward something.
The closing track, “Good People Round,” carries us in a cozy, feeling embrace. It is a reminder that even when things seem bleak, we are surrounded by people who love us. The hazy chorus lulls us into a state of peaceful goodness, enough to support us when we need it most.