When Alice Costelloe’s mother asked her friend Kacey Underwood to teach her daughter a few songs on guitar, no one had any inclination that shortly thereafter the two would form indie-rock band Big Deal. But it happened. Despite a decade’s age difference and Costelloe’s London roots up against Underwood’s Californian ones, the two have now released two full length albums together, their most recent release being June Gloom.
Fans had a taste of the album when “Teradactol” was released back in 2012. It’s the heaviest-sounding track on the album and a curveball to listeners. But opener “Golden Light” takes it down a notch with an upbeat, slightly fuzzy guitar accentuating the vocals. This song demonstrates the very reason these two originally came together: helping Costelloe learn Sonic Youth and Dinosaur, Jr. songs.
The album continues to pump out catchy tunes and doesn’t get particularly gloomy instrumentally until about halfway through with “Pristine.” Simple strumming follows the singers’ soft voices, and follow-up track “Pillow” is just as mellow. It features Underwood leading the way on vocals in the beginning before Costello joins in for a duet. And closing track “Close Your Eyes” starts off similarly simple, carrying a quiet, lullaby-esque vibe before it opens up into a bigger, booming sound for the finale.
Despite being two attractive people and having song names like “Swapping Spit” and “In Your Car,” these two are just friends and bandmates and have dismissed claims of being a couple. They just happen to write songs together with ease. June Gloom is indeed a record for Los Angelenos to listen to during the real June Gloom’s grey mornings and early afternoons.