Employing the talents of 10 musicians, this Kentucky indie ensemble handles pop, rock, reggae, ska and everything in between. The problem is, it loses its identity in the process, forsaking accessibility for technicality.
The single, “Rumours,” features the most restrained use of horns on the album, as well as a quirky piano accompaniment and the record’s best hook, which, according to songwriter John Ferguson, handles “class issues and the inhumanity of American capitalism.” This theme of greed and the futility of financial accrual saturates much of “Moneychasers,” but the juxtaposition with Big Fresh’s indie-pop sensibilities conjures up some cognitive dissonance.
“Rumours” is, in many ways, the most boring song of the bunch, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It features conventional songwriting — stuff the rest of the album knows little of. To a lesser extent, “Here Is the Deal” charms with its normality as well, offering up some rare, guitar-driven relief.
One luxury of having 10 people in a group is musical flexibility. Instead of picking a sound and sticking to it, Big Fresh can adopt any style it wishes, and does. On a song-by-song basis, “Moneychasers” impresses with a smorgasbord of consistently catchy and enjoyable, although brief, tracks.
However, the disc feels disjointed as a whole. There’s no constant, aside from the foundation: workmanlike vocals from Kate Drof and Ferguson, a tight rhythm section and capable guitarists. Including a horn section and three keyboardists may be a source of disjunction, but “Rumours” begs to differ.
“Moneychasers” displays remarkable potential from the group in terms of musicianship, arrangement and songwriting, but Big Fresh needs some time to regroup and focus on what kind of album it wants to make.