Big Drill Car

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Small Block

Big Drill Car - Small Block ©1989 Cruz
1. 5 Year Itch
2. Glory
3. Les Cochons Sans Poils
4. Let Me Walk
5. Mag Wheel
6. Annie's Needle

A sadly neglected band from SoCal who specialized in playing a very strongly melodic and bouncy popcore punk. Big Drill Car had a foot in classic big arena rock--Cheap Trick is an influence--and wasn't afraid to write songs with hooks that stuck with you. Though singer Frank Daly had previously played bass in other bands, it turned out he had quite a strong voice. His sense of harmony and power really shines on "Let Me Walk" and "Annie's Needle". Meanwhile, guitarist Mark Arnold sets down a riff'n'roll musical foundation that you'll be hardpressed to find errors in. In a way, Small Block is too polished (though in a good way) to be even thrown into the punk connotations. Rather, this is simply just a good rock record.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 01/1999

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CD/Tape/Album Type Thing

Big Drill Car - CD/Tape/Album Type Thing ©1989 Cruz
1. 16 Lines
2. Clamato #11
3. No Need
4. Brody
5. In Green Fields
6. Diamond Earrings
7. Reform Before
8. Head On
9. Swanson
10. About Us

The first full length from SoCal's Big Drill Car both at once highlighted their strengths and weaknesses as a pop rock band with punk overtones. Regardless of the scene they dwelled in, BDC excelled and strived to write songs that contained timeless hooks and melodies that stuck like so many candied yams at Thanksgiving dinner. CD/Album/Tape Type Thing (yes, it is format specific for whatever version you prefer) is a bit uneven throughout, as the first half is somewhat tepid while the second half is exceedingly catchy and fun. Frank Daly's voice on occasion sounds a bit unsure of melodies, especially on the album opener "16 Lines" but when he cuts loose he is one of the better singers to ever hit the pop punk circuit. "Diamond Earrings" is a great example of how well he can sell a song with his voice. Meanwhile, the band just lays down a simple and entertaining rock base. Big Drill Car didn't try to play much faster than most rock bands and worked more for the song than for any other thing. That sort of focus does help to place them a bit ahead of the pack, especially for fans who love a great, melodic and memorable rock song. Though I prefer other Big Drill Car releases overall, CD/Album/Tape Type Thing is still a pretty decent buy, especially for the second half of the album.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2000

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Big Drill Car - Batch ©1991 Cruz
1. Take Away
2. Restless Habs
3. If It's Poison
4. Freep
5. Neverending Endeavor
6. In A Hole
7. Crust
8. Freedom Of Choice
9. Ick
10. Faster

Though Big Drill Car essentially retained a very consistent (read: non-progressing) sound throughout their career, Batch has always been the album that has stood out just above the rest. I can't say that these songs are any different than the predecessor CD/Tape/Record Type Thing but for the most part it seems they are slightly catchier and more fun. The band was nothing more than a Cheap Trick styled pop band in a punk band's role as their main focus was writing those sort of songs that stick to your bones like mashed potatoes and gravy. The riffs were simple and the rhythms straight forward, though slightly busy under the surface, with very melodic and smooth vocals layed on top. For the Cruz lineup in the early nineties, Big Drill Car was the friendly pop oriented cousin to ALL's often left field approach to music and Chemical People's erratic output. It is a virtual guarantee that you will remember "Restless Habs", "Neverending Endeavor" or "Ick" with infectious pop melodies. The nicest thing about Big Drill Car is that this pop is not ephemeral slop that has no lasting quality. This is pop in the best sense. Fun to listen to and able to stand the test of time.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 07/1999

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