UNTIL THE BIG BANG WHIMPERS (2011) Bill Mumy
Reviewed by Anthony Servante
The new album by Bill Mumy captures a “Noir” view of life by way of Woody Guthrie as evident in its two videos, “I Owe a Little Money” and “Wresting with Survival” (see below). Noir in the sense that the darker side of life is captured in the songs that play against the uplifting arrangements of Mr. Guthrie’s Patriotic tempos; together this blend of dark and light create a view of colorful scenarios of love, religion and hope through black and white glasses.
The songlist is thematically cohesive so it plays like a concept LP, as if it were one long song rather than 12 individual pieces. Contrasting themes, such as the good and the bad of love creating ambivalent feelings, make for some lyrics that go against the grain of the beat. However, there is a seamless segue between each cut that makes this one of the few albums on my short list that I can listen to straight through.
The tracks include:
"Real Good Thing" sets the ironic tone right off with some wicked guitar licks.
"The Big Barn is Burnin’" has an upbeat rhythm to a downbeat story.
"I Owe a Little Money" is a great song about home and the debt that comes with it.
"I Know the Way to Love You" is an intense love song. All isn’t as it seems.
"Isn’t That What You Said?" extends the play on words regarding faithful love.
"If You Got Your Mind Made Up" is pure 1920s. Helen Kane on downers.
"Destiny’s Shore" is about love lost with an upbeat gospel rhythm.
"Take Us Home" is about looking to heaven as an escape from a “broken” world.
"Chariots Comin’" is a sardonic view of our salvation coming from above.
"The Other Side of the Other Side" finds love spiritually but not physically.
"Wrestling With Survival" expresses hope in the future, not in the present.
"Until the Big Bang Whimpers" ends with the wicked guitar work that started us off in the opening song, rounding out the cohesiveness of the LP.
Each song has that timeless quality that could have been as popular in the 1920s as the 1960s. So the overall experience of sitting through the entire CD is one of being sent to another time. Brian Eno says that good music is a place we go to when we listen to it. In that sense, Bill Mumy’s Until the Big Bang Whimpers album is a location worth discovering by music lovers of all genres.