At 16 years old, Caleb Boddicker recorded a 22-track demo in the bedroom of his parent’s house in Mississippi. He was a sophomore in high school at the time and sold the demo online as a means of funding his future college education. He managed to sell over 1000 copies to fans that were lucky enough to stumble across that gem of a record. Isaac Brock got a hold of the record and passed it along to Sub Pop. Pinback even asked him to open for them on a few dates of their Blue Screen Life tour. However, he had never played a live show before, nor was he eager to forgo his education. So he tossed his prodigal status aside and continued on to college. Fortunately, a small label out of San Diego kept in touch with Boddicker, encouraging him to make music, even if it was just as a hobby. Banter Records was not even a label at the time, but merely an idea. Nevertheless, they continued to support Boddicker and built an online relationship with him over the course of 3 years.
Fast forward to 2005…….Boddicker is now 19 years old and Banter Records is officially a label. Boddicker mentioned interest in recording an album to Banter, but had one demand: Brian Deck should produce the album. Deck is Boddicker’s favorite producer and he felt that Deck would bring his music to its full potential. After all, Deck has produced several albums by Boddicker’s influences such as Modest Mouse, Ugly Casanova, and Iron & Wine. Banter sent Deck a few tracks from the demo and 8 months later he called back agreeing to produce the record. In October of 2006, Boddicker entered Engine Studios in Chicago for a 3-week recording session. The result is nothing short of a masterpiece. Boddicker’s gift of writing simple, yet powerful songs, combined with Deck’s production brilliance, culminated into a mind-blowing piece of work. The songs bounce from genre to genre, providing a glimpse into Boddicker’s erratic perception of the world. “He’s a very intelligent kid in everything he does, but he goes about making music in a very naïve way, which makes it all sound very genuine,” commented Deck. It is this combination of intelligence and naivety that has catapulted Boddicker into the forefront of unique songwriting. Like the Microphones and Sunset Rubdown, Boddicker forgoes complexity when writing songs, but sets them to an appropriate sonic landscape and sings with such an innocent albeit powerful tone that his message comes across effectively.
“Giant” begins the story of The Gallant Man, a naïve, yet emotionally strong character whom strives for love. The Gallant Man wanders through world as if all-knowing, believing that love is the only thing worthwhile. Songs such as “Pretty Baby (Part 1)” and “Real as the Sun” establish his pursuit of love. However, “Interstate 55” and “When I Go Out” provide glimpses into his naivety, which hints at The Gallant Man’s blindness about love. It is not until “That Which I or Albright’s Door” does The Gallant Man realize his naivety, presented to him through Albright’s Door, a window into his regretful past. The Gallant Man then transforms into Big Lionhearted, a savage recluse that ignores his naïve past and tramples through the world on his own. “Pretty Baby (Part II)” now becomes almost violent and “Woods” becomes the story Big Lionhearted’s life.