The Big Dig
By: Eric G.
Ok, so this is an album full of instrumentals, but don’t stop reading: The Big Dig is an amazing amalgam of serendipitous musical excursions and not a self-indulgent collection of masturbatory bullshit (like most instrumental post rock). Billy Mahonie is a quartet that I am astounded to find out has only been together for one year. What do you get when you mix up some Slint, some Charles Mingus, some AC/DC, and some bluesy twang all stitched together tightly with libidinous percussion and sinewy melodies? Billy Mahonie. Not that Billy Mahonie sounds like any of those bands individually, but you can hear the history in the songwriting and the textures and the nuances.
The guitars are sprawling and intricate with sure-headed dynamics. The music in unpredictable, but it is not a mathematical chore to sit through. The changes all weave into one another impeccably, bending and twisting into brilliant shards of post-post rock that are as sublime as they are engaging. From the jagged slide guitar and subsequent jazzy breakdown of “Watching People Speaking When You Can’t Hear What They’re Saying” to the explosive rock of “Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah”, Billy Mahonie covers a map of rock most bands could only dream of attempting. June of 44 wishes it could play like this.
The Big Dig contains not a boring moment. Even in the quieter parts you can sense the mounting tension and the energy and precision with which they are being played. Each song unfurls with cascading guitars and concurrent melodies all beautifully held in check by the flawless rhythm section. The Big Dig is the perfect example of the moving power of music. “Flagiolettes” makes me want to cry it’s so good. The guitar interplay reminds me of Ed O’Brien and Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead- so precise yet so serene. Billy Mahonie is not playing to any genre or crowd. This music is the incarnation of the evolution of modern rock and roll. Don’t miss it.