A Great Big World were the indie pop success story of the end of 2013. Their debut single ‘Say Something’ caught the ears of pop diva, Christina Aguilera, who liked the song so much, it was re-recorded with her vocals, changing it to a sweet duet. Backed by strong live performances on Aguilera’s hit television show, The Voice, and the American Music Awards, the song was elevated to the top regions of the American charts, becoming the bands first hit single and added another to Christina Aguilera’s long line of duets. The songs surprise success saw the indie pop duo, comprising of Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino, being hurled into the spotlight. The band whom once used Kickstarter to fund an EP were now signed to a Epic Records with a hit single.
Both the solo version and duet of the simple piano ballad Say Something are featured on the bands’ debut album, which has already charted highly in the American and Canadian album charts. A collection of sweet, quirky songs fit for indie rom-com soundtracks. The opening tracks ‘Rockstar’ and ‘Land of Opportunity’ which feature joyous piano throughout sound more like a homage to late 70s Supertramp rather than their indie pop piers fun or Foster the People.
Though the song writing is strong and it’s heart is in the right place, the debut album from the duo can sound a bit tiresome and repetitive over the thirteen tracks. Songs like ‘Already Home’ and ‘You’ll Be Okay’ are also both piano ballads that could do with the Aguilera makeover. It makes you question whether the duo would be better suited writing and performing alongside more established acts or expanding to a bigger band with a fuller sound, as a bulk of the material is lacking the presence and charisma of Aguilera.
However tracks such as the perky sing-along ‘Shorty Don’t Wait’, show that the band could still be able to produce a great second album, or be able to give bland album tracks like the socially conscious Everyone Is Gay a bit more personality on the road. Despite the shaky debut, the flawlessness of ‘Say Something’ should see the band have a successful 2014 globally as the single is climbing the charts all over Europe and is pencilled in for February 16th release in the UK.