In a region oversaturated with cowboy hats, gospel churches, and more twang than an old Johnny Cash record, comes The Big Tease, the blacksheep rock 'n' roll heavyweights, that if asked, are much more interested in the farmer's daughter than the farm. Although they call the valley of eastern Tennessee home, these Knoxville boys sound more like they've been touring with the likes of Maroon 5, Jimmy Eat World, or The Killers, rather than with Rascal Flatts or Merle Haggard. Hailing from Knoxville, The Big Tease is a charming group of young, post-punk Southern hipsters looking to share their irresistible blend of rock, pop and funk. Supporting their critically acclaimed debut album, Beautiful Addiction, The Big Tease has been consistently touring, performing to packed clubs everywhere they go. This versatile foursome has become the soundtrack to college parties, playing at major universities throughout the south. Blending their high octane, powerpop rock with their rousing stage presence, The Big Tease's live shows keep each packed crowd electrified until closing time. 'We're the type of rock band that will pick up your daughter on time, meet the parents, and then take her out and rock her good,' Bill Dabbs, the band's resident keyboard player laughs. 'Oh, and we'd be sure to get her home on time...or maybe just a few minutes late.' When laying the foundation for what would become their first major release, the band followed the pace of the slow-talking and even slower-moving Southern culture which they call their own. Instead of rushing songs straight from the practice room into the studio, the band let time work it's own magic. While they continued their rugged touring, each song had a chance to age like a fine wine, or in their case, like Tennessee's finest whiskey. All four members put creative thought and effort into writing, rewriting, tweaking and refining, often being fueled by the competitive camaraderie built during intense, late-night creative binges. The result was 11 uniquely crafted songs and a newfound sonic identity. An intense period of recording ensued at Lakeside Studios, Knoxville's most acclaimed recording studio, and Beautiful Addiction was born. Their style of sexy and infectious modern rock often reminisces of the Rivers Cuomo (of Weezer) approach to writing. It's much harder to not only combine complex rhythms, unique melodies, and deep lyrical themes but to then transform them into straight-ahead, rock 'n' roll pop suited for the mainstream listener. The Big Tease, however, has done it with their first full-length release, Beautiful Addiction, which exudes enough pop and charm for radio, but rocks way too hard to be classified with the formulaic pop of today's mainstream music scene. From track to track, the album bops and sways like a sparring prize fighter while still yielding enough power and punch to go ten rounds before it's final knockout, a victoriously endearing piano ballad titled 'Rescue Me.' Although fueled by powerpop ballads such as 'Rescue Me' and 'Make Believe,' the album's lyrics tease themes of 'Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n' Roll,' as most distinctly heard in the edgy, riff rock anthem 'Keep Coming Back.' But there's a catch. Amidst the roar of electric guitar, rock organ, and catchy hooks, the album develops more like the band's personal soundtrack of heartache and redemption than a trite glorification of their rock 'n' roll indulgences. In the bluntly titled 'DUI,' the band's most genuinely 'southern' rock song, Pattison strays from the usual 'Play Hard. Drink Harder' mentality of rock and discusses the woes of a friend arrested for driving under the influence. The story ends with the driver discovering a newfound sense of morality and direction, thus promising that if you 'give me one more chance, then you'll realize, that I won't' compromise.' Even the shine and shimmer of 'The Fever,' the Tease's '80's-esque' power pop single with the undeniably catchy hook is merely sleight-of-hand. The track really serves as the bandage for a severe relational wound. The song's arrival is announced by the eerily seductive Spanish trumpet provided by keyboardist Bill Dabbs, and Pattison compliments the trumpet's advances with a tale of a young couple facing the consequences of recklessly exploring their new found attraction and sexuality. Even the song's infectious pop hook juxtaposes the harsh reality of indulgence without conscience. One cannot escape feeling the band's underlying intentions of portraying yet another pitfall of the 'sex, drugs, and rock' lifestyle spurred by youthful indiscretion. Contrary to their suggestive name, The Big Tease has defined themselves not only by the power and passion of their latest album, but also with their raucous and wild, but still undeniably 'well-mannered' live performances. The clean shaven foursome takes the stage wearing the kind of smile that says 'I've got a secret, and it's gonna blow your mind.' Donning the intellectual swag reminiscent of New York City's lower east side, The Big Tease roll through their set with an unbridled fury that begs the question 'has rock ever been this fun?' One thing's for sure. Once you're addicted to the band's energy, talent and versatility, you'll be begging to be teased again.
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