(Grandsport Records/Oglio Records 2010)Bigbang - Edendale

Sorry, Turbonegro but Bigbang are claiming to be the biggest band in Norway. And having never set foot in Norway, let alone any part of Scandinavia, we'll all just have to take them (and their publicists) at their word. But while the band's biography recounts days spent skateboarding, their first official US full-length studio album "Edendale" isn't exactly what you might label as extreme music. Think less Fu Manchu, or whatever skaters listen to these days, and more poppy alternative indie rock, like Stereophonics.

Bigbang spend half of "Edendale" churning out quality but relatively ordinary sounding soft rock. From the smooth rock ballad "Swedish Television" to the upbeat pop tune "Call Me." It's all rather mainstream sounding and it's all rather standard by the book fair. At least for a while. Somewhere around the middle Bigbang decide they want to throw some curveballs. So what do they do? They put a bluesy spin on "Bag Of Leaves" and, inexplicably, go disco for "To The Max." The band does have a winner in the somewhat folksy touches on "Head Over Heels."

There's nothing unlikable about Bigbang. Nothing. Nada. Nichts. They're so not unlikable it's almost boring. Bigbang's "Edendale" has great playing, great production and some strong moments. The recipe combining those ingredients works but something's just off as it fails to pack that extra oomph, that extra je ne sais quoi. For fans of soft rock with a deceptively poppy side will undoubtedly find Bigbang's "Edendale" of interest.


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