Brooklyn band Office Culture is made up of four longtime collaborators (and all solo artists in their own right)—lead singer and songwriter Winston Cook-Wilson (vocals/keyboards), Ian Wayne (guitar), Charlie Kaplan (bass), and Pat Kelly (drums). Following the electronic avant-pop experimentation of their debut album I Did the Best I Could, the band’s critically acclaimed sophomore LP—2019’s A Life of Crime—unveiled a lush, jazz-inflected sound that Pitchfork described as “sleek music for a cursed place, opulent like a ritzy hotel lounge.” Cook-Wilson’s wry and contemplative songs reflect the bandmates’ shared points of musical reference, including Nite-Flights-era Scott Walker, mid-‘70s Joni Mitchell, Curtis Mayfield, and ECM-label jazz. The FADER wrote: “Office Culture spends theilw best moments on [A Life Of Crime] sounding like the most vital lounge-pop act of all time.”
Big Time Things—the band’s third album and Northern Spy debut—is a more maximalist affair. Written and recorded across the course of three years, it’s a meticulously orchestrated and groove-forward record featuring nine of Cook-Wilson’s most ambitious compositions to date. Tracks like singles “Elegance,” “Big Time Things,” and “Little Reminders” draw together a disparate collection of influences, integrating soulful vocal harmonies, horns straight out of ‘70s spiritual jazz, string arrangements informed by modernist classical music, and beats that reflect the band’s enduring love of neo-soul and hip-hop.
The playful experimentation of the arrangements elevates the melodrama and humor of Cook-Wilson’s songs—his most emotionally direct to date—which trace the complexities of our efforts to better ourselves by learning from our worst and least rational behavior, and how we attempt to apply that knowledge to nurturing close personal relationships. The record features a dense cast of supporting players including Carmen Q. Rothwell, Caitlin Pasko, Alena Spanger (Tiny Hazard), and members of Cuddle Magic / Mmeadows.