Big Grams – Big Grams | Review

The album starring Big Boi, the Outcast rapper used to collaboration from his years with Andre 3000, and the male-female electronic duo Phantogram, could have heralded a collaboration worth listening to beyond any novelty factor. Sadly, like most collaborative albums, it falls short of the output of both acts separately.

The main issue is Big Boi. He occupies a lot of the space in this record. Outcasts last album had to be separated into two acts of solo work, and it is apparent that this may have been why. The sweet, delicate vocals of Sarah Barthel, which usually demand attention, have mostly been sidelined to the chorus, or backing vocals to Big Bois raps. The rapping also falls short. In an attempt to ‘pop’ himself some of the raps appear cheesy. An ‘Ohhhh Yeaaah’ in a song including such a respected rapper is just not good enough.

Overall, the production sounds very Phantogram, and this may have been Big Bois real plan for this project, but there is no emotional connection between tho two acts. The single ‘Fell In The Sun’ sounds like a well executed pop song, but it does not sound like work that you would place with either act. When Sarah is given some real time to shine, in the second from last song ridiculously called ‘Born To Shine’, her powerful vocal lifts the track unlike any other. Phantogram always allow both partners of the duo to vocalise, but Josh Carter is absent beyond his production abilities. 

Instead of a swansong the albums last song ‘Drum Machine’ could have been sung by a pop band 15 years ago. Repeats of ‘I’ve got my drum machine’ are not the quality of lyricism expected by either act.
Perhaps Phantogram were just overwhelmed by the opportunity to have this level of exposure, to take issue with the quality control of the record.

A waste of an interesting opportunity. 4/10

Review by Matthew Whelband

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