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Big Eyes
Big Eyes
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PLENTY of bands would relish the chance to re-visit past glories with wiser ears and ideas but simply never get round to it.

As something of a black sheep in the Sheffield musical family, The Big Eyes Family Players have for more than a decade tendered sounds seemingly plucked from another era, if not culture.

The Big Eyes Family Players - Credit Sarah McAdam

The Big Eyes Family Players - Credit Sarah McAdam

On March 22 Family Favourites sees James Green and chums re-work and re-arrange seven tracks, add two new originals and a cover of The Dirty Three’s Three Wheels – a kind of ‘Best Of’ with a difference.

“I guess it is, or perhaps a retrospective,” says James, who formed the band to play experimental chamber folk/pop when his previous Leeds-based group called time.

“It’s an overview of our past 11 years with some of our favourite songs redone, plus a cover version we used to like to play live but never got around to recording – and new tracks to show what is happening now.

“I was just wanting to approach songs in a different manner.

“With many older songs, at the time technology was quite limited, as was my ability to write and arrange.

“Now, with a more flexible band and more flexible technology, we’re able to delve a little deeper and make them work in different ways.

“When we started the recordings for this album, however, it was only initially as a document of our live set-up.

“We’d never had the chance to record properly in a studio like this, so I wanted to hear what it would sound like.

“It was a nice bonus that an album came out of the process.”

Family Favourites benefits from the fresh approach, losing none of the organic appeal of its DIY ethic or cosy origins so the new balance seamlessly with the vintage offerings.

The album is released on American label Karate Body, a deal that came about through Green’s friendship with Kentucky-based pianist Rachel Grimes.

She released a solo album on the same label.

“I checked them out, sent them some demos and they came back to me and told me they were very happy to release Family Favourites – even with the un-American spelling of the title.

“It is going to be interesting to see how US audiences take to the album, as it is a territory we have barely touched before. World tour with Springsteen, perhaps?”

Boss-like apsirations apart, with the passion for music seemingly conceived in or at least for simpler times healthy either side of the Atlantic, it is likely TBEFP’s organic, human instrumentals in an age of hi-tech reliance and social indifference would appeal.

“I love music that pulls at the heart, and that is at the core of the band,” concludes James. “I’m not sure it harks back, but perhaps instead is happy to exist in a blinkered world of its own, pretty oblivious to current movements, trends or pigeonholes.

“Obviously band members bring different influences, but no-one is particularly concerned with commerciality or hi-technology.”