"Big Business is pure metal fashioned by a couple of hardcore vets.... Jared Warren of indie-metal legends Karp [and] Coady Willis of the terrific, short-lived, goth-punk group The Murder City Devils. So good, in fact, is this duo, it was folded into the latest version of the Melvins," wrote Matthew Stabley, the "D.C. Scene" columnist for Washington's NBC-4.
Indeed, Big Business is one menacing bough on one of rock 'n' roll's more venerable family trees, the one that connects the Melvins with Karp and several very heavy fruits in between. One almost never hears the Los Angeles duo of bassist Warren and drummer Willis mentioned separately from their lineage. It's a little unfair for the band and plenty easy for journalists, but whether they like it or not, Big Business will forever remain "the two new dudes in the Melvins" or "that one guy from Karp and that other guy from the Murder City Devils."
Actually, it may not be that way forever: Perhaps there is a chance that those oh-so-intrinsic associations that everyone mentions will mean less soon, especially if the Los Angeles duo can pound out a few more full-lengths as outlandishly solid as its sophomore release for Hydra Head, Here Come the Waterworks. On Waterworks, Willis and Warren transcend ancestral expectations with cleverly built and perfectly, heavily executed compositions. "Compositions" is a bit too stuffy a word, really: Warren's shout-chanting and mammoth low-end bass groove mix with Willis' brutal Keith-Moon-gone-tribal drum style, erecting gigantic rock 'n' roll songs of a new shape. Big Business is brute but agile, like Lightning Bolt with an incorrigible affinity for Black Sabbath. Heavy as liquid lead, or something.
Ancestry aside, Big Business—an ultimately resourceful duo—is remarkable, making a two-piece sound like a 20-piece, constantly side-by-side onstage, collaborating and feeding off each other. If this keeps up, maybe King Buzzo and Dale Crover will want out of the Melvins and into the Business. Don't let 'em in, dudes.
Big Business plays the Cat's Cradle Sunday, July 22, with local heavyweights including Black Skies and Caltrop. Tickets are $10-$12 for a 9 p.m. start.