Big Words have come a long way since Will Scullin and Kieren Lee partnered in their youth. While their 2017 debut EP Hollywood, a Beautiful Coincidence revealed the duo as a growing presence in Melbourne's prolific nu-soul scene, Cherry sees Big Words take a step further as they enter the terrain of indie-pop and soul-drenched RnB. This mixtape is a serendipitous product of isolation released via Daily Nightly which uses interludes and voice memos to smoothly thread together genres so that all you have to do as a listener is click play.
"The Edge" is the first track of the mixtape which pulls the listener into an intoxicated haze of woozy synth-lines and surf-rock guitar accompaniments. A washed out vocal paves the way forward, met with reverberating harmonies and shimmering synths in an adequate representation of the Gorillaz meet the Beach Boys.
"Serpent", "Mandarin", "Iknowwhattodo" and "Miso" take a leaf from the acoustic playbook, whose subtlety functions to thread the mixtape together in effortless ease. The former features a simple guitar refrain with Kieren's raw and enticing vocals at the forefront. As sentiments towards nature and the seasons echo, the instrumentation takes a brief pause before resuming in textural capacity to let Will's signature falsetto shine. His serenade reminds us of the smouldering vocal talent of previous releases such as "The Answer" and "Soul Jam" that gave the RnB duo such a special home in Australia's heart.
"Pretty On The Inside" switches the mixtape in a more up-beat direction. It meditates on a reliable Hip Hop beat as Kieren's unique vocal character hangs heavy on top. While the indie ballad reveals a catchy hook, "Sink Or Swim" is the real heart of the mixtape. The combined pop and RnB number nods to Frank ocean's Channel Orange era while remaining consistent with the romantic lyricism that underpins the mixtape. Notably, Will explains the meaning behind Cherry, "It's heavily inspired by insecurity, solitude, sexuality and friendship. There isn't much essence of heartbreak, but maybe more so what happens before and after."
Such an exploration of the love playing field is continued in "Stick Around (Freestyle)" that sits on a smooth flowing beat with processed vocals and shaking percussion. Interestingly, the vocals were a happy product of a freestyle, as Will comments, "It was a 10-minute beat that was at the depths of my hard drive that never had any intention of being used. When we brought it up, we both tried to write to it eventually getting nowhere. Kieren then freestyle'd for 40 minutes and I cut it all up to make verses, a pre chorus and then the hook. It's close to our favourite song on there and it was made and finished in about an hour."
Impressively, the entire Cherry mixtape was self-produced and completed in just two weeks. The self-reflective mixtape took on a life of its own and "Girls And Rings" marks its final narrative point as the penultimate track. The piano ballad with sentimental lyrics recalls the birth of the creative partnership and the shared dream between Will and Kieren. They explain,"'We can be whatever we like' is a notion to us making the music we do, creating with no boundary or tight grip on our process."
This sentiment is rather quickly proven, as the conclusion of "Girls And Rings" boasts a slow down drum and bass groove over emotive piano in a testament to the diversity in sounds and character of the duo.
Big Words have established a name for themselves as one of Melbourne's most adored soul duos, having earned them recent performances supporting Hobo Johnson on their national tour, main stage slots at Beyond The Valley and warming up the stage for Freddie Gibbs at Sun Cycle earlier this year.