The Morning Benders: Big Echo [Rough Trade, 2010]
9.1 out of 10.0
The Morning Benders’ first album Talking Through Tin Cans was a perfect description for the sound they emitted at the time. The album was not terribly dynamic, but showed the band’s roots in the Pacific Northwest and their influences coming from the 1950’s and 60’s. The band’s debut for Rough Trade Big Echo does the exact same thing. The album title completely sums up the bands new work. Their songs now have an added dimension with the production (Co-Produced by singer/guitarist/songwriter Christopher Chu and Grizzly Bear’s Christ Taylor), and instrumentation. Immediately this becomes evident on the album’s first track, “Excuses,” with the string arrangements, various percussion, and vocal harmonies. For further proof to their experimentation in a video by Yours Truly, Chu explains how they wanted to try a Phil Spector style of recording a la The Beatles, and attempted to cram as many musicians/friends into the studio to record the track. The result is astonishing and truly shows the band’s appreciation and reverence for the style of music they emulate. You can watch the video below.
The album’s best songs come at the top starting with “Excuses” and continuing on into the next track “Promises.” The two songs fit together perfectly and really show where band came from and where they are going. The Morning Benders are no longer a modern day regurgitation of the 50’s and 60’s while mirroring prior regional acts such as The Shins, but are now taking those influences and adding them to their own brand of music. But rest assured the charm that was there on Talking Through Tin Cans and Bedroom Covers is still there. The lyrics and music are still personal and open and it is this mix of the grandiose and simple that are sure to make The Morning Benders this year’s indie darlings.
– Mason Jar