Big Dream Bus – Big Dream Baby

Big Bus Dream consists of Mike Shannon who started the band in 2006 and is the songwriter, guitarist and vocalist. He is joined by Chick Tsikouras (previously Pat Methany and Mamas & Papas) on guitar plus song writing. The band’s debut album, “The Jesters of Xmas Town” was released in 2008.

The band describe their music as social comment echoing the likes of John Lennon and Lou Reed. In fact, the general vibe of the album with it’s acoustic roots with more electrified arrangements is said to evoke Reed’s “Transformer”.

For me when listening to the album the names that sprung to mind were Tom Waits, Warren Zevon and Tom Petty. I have a Warren Zevon album but it isn’t something that I listen to all that often. I like it when I dig it out, but it isn’t something that screams play me very often. This brand of adult orientated rock just doesn’t light my fire and whilst I would describe the majority of the album as an OK listen, there are a few tracks such as the Talking Heads like “Laughing” and spacey “Here I Am” that actually tipped the balance and I found annoying. The most successful tracks for me were ones like “Mary’s Spoken” and “Letting Go’ which fitted in to the pleasant, but perhaps not overly exciting category.

A bit of a rambling album with hippy tendencies that reminds me of a quirky road trip movie. At the end of the movie you wonder what it was all about and why you stayed up watching it and didn’t go to bed earlier.

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Spiritus Mundi – American Dystopia

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Can’t say that I know too much about these guys other than that Gordon Tittsworth of Images Of Eden performs the vocals. The Images Of Eden album was a mixture of progressive metal and traditional metal, which was almost too heavy for my tastes. Spiritus Mundi tip the balance and this is definitely too heavy for me. I’m sure there are more modern reference points but this reminded me of a mixture of early Megadeth and Metallica, complete with biscuit tin drum sound.

From the start of the album these guys play really heavy music that tells me they are pissed at the world, or at least the American government, although to be honest I wasn’t interested enough to listen too much to the lyrics. Most the tracks are a mixture of trash metal with maybe a bit of death metal thrown in a well. I found all the tracks to pretty much sound the same, with little to distinguish individual ones. About the only notable moments were that "Wake Up and Die" sounded a little like early Ozzy solo stuff and that the final track lasted for 14 mins.

So essentially a type mismatch with my personal musical tastes. There may be something in it for those who like really heavy stuff, but I think even then are better examples of the genre out there.