Home > New music > Melancholic, Tense, Noisy, and Ultimately Uplifting, Laced with Lyricism

Big Bliss is the Brooklyn-based brainchild of brothers Cory and Tim Race, and friend/collaborator Wallace May. Formed in late 2015, the trio melds harmonic post-punk grooves with art-rock sensibilities all propped up on the pillars and hooks of pop structure.

Their sound is at once melancholic, tense, noisy, and ultimately uplifting, laced with a lyricism that ruminates on anxiety, grief, addiction, recovery, devotion, and heartache. Framing these themes is the social ennui unique to generations brought up in our technologically ravaged and increasingly fragile world.

Their 2018 debut LP At Middle Distance was released to acclaim from Billboard, The Big Takeover, Aquarium Drunkard and more. Several years of heavy show schedules and relentless touring led to the band being recognized by Oh My Rockness as “NYC’s Hardest Working Band” in 2017, as well as regular appearances at SXSW through 2019.

The band was originally scheduled to begin production on their sophomore album, Vital Return, in April of 2020 with Jonathan Schenke (Parquet Courts, Liars, The Drums), but that plan was soon delayed indeterminably in parallel with the rest of the world. Once it was moderately safe to convene in a room together again, equipped with heavy PPE and wide open windows in the January air, the band re-demoed the entire slew of album-contending songs.

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By the summer of 2021, Schenke and the band were recording in full swing. That summer May decamped to California, and the brothers assembled a rotating lineup to return to regular live performances the following November. The album was wrapped in the first weeks of 2022, followed shortly by fellow Brooklyn musicians Rose Blanshei and Dan Peskin joining on bass and guitar, respectively.

Vital Return captures the band channelling their love for R.E.M., New Order, Yo La Tengo, and C86 in addition to the twilight of classic post-punk acts like the Cure and Echo & the Bunnymen. However, the album decidedly looks ahead; its themes document a fight for sobriety, moving through the loss of the brothers’ father, coping with collective and generational trauma, and finally seeking out the emotional/spiritual tools needed for us all to rebuild in our current moment in time.


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