There seems to be a new trend overtaking the scene: for pop-punk bands to include “league” somewhere in their name. What sport are they all playing? Can I join? So many questions to be answered. Enter The Big Leagues. Their biography claims that they are a punk band hailing from Chicago, but does not offer much else. Without any preconceived notions, I jumped into what appears to be the act’s debut effort.
Upon listening to the opening track on their So Far To Go EP, my interest was immediately piqued. “Last” kicks off to an aggressive start with crashing cymbals and fast, catchy guitar riffs. The soaring melody is infectious, almost unsettlingly so. The contrasting saccharine-sweet vocals with hardcore-style group shouts offer a look into what the band is capable of. Unfortunately “Last” marks the peak of the album, the remaining three songs falling flat in its wake.
The group allows their angst to drive their music, which is apparent in “Mark Of The Least”. However, their despair seems not exceptionally relatable, even to someone who grew up in a suburb with a particularly large mall where Hot Topic was the designated hang out place. The song itself is distinguished by its lyrical content: the ever-cliche juxtaposition of love to war. Except for that one difference, it could easily be a watered-down version of the previous song, with the expected break-down at the end of the track.
“Closing In” and the title track, “So Far To Go,” may as well be the same exact song. There is nothing significant differentiating one from the other. Both are cookie cutter, and paraphrase content that has been sung, whined, and played out to the death by multiple other acts of the same genre.
So Far To Go lacks a true hook and substance. It could easily get misplaced among the overabundance of Man Overboard and A Day To Remember-esque tunes that seem to be churned out in bulk these days. However, the clean production style of the EP allows for the instrument tones to shine through, while still retaining a small sense of rawness, which is something that most albums are lacking, and happens to be So Far To Go’s saving point.