Monday, October 25, 2010

The Morning Benders: Big Echo

These young-looking chaps from San Francisco have a bright future.  I'm talking don't-look-directly-at-that-150-watt-equivalent-CFL-bulb bright.  Somehow I missed their debut album, but their follow-up, Big Echo, caught my eye with its good reviews and its fantastic album cover (which reminded me of one of my all-time favorite paintings).

The fact that Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor shared production duties with Morning Benders' lead singer (and driving force) Chris Chu, should give you an idea of the layering within the album (and Chu is a self-professed fan of Phil Specter's "Wall of Sound").  The Morning Benders trade in acoustic-guitar-driven sound of their debut for orchestral arrangements accompanied by guitar, especially noticable on opening (and stand-out) track, "Excuses."  However, the sounds of their debut album can be heard on my favorite track, "Cold War" (but the timpani drums, glockenspiel, handclaps, and woodwinds(?) add to the depth).

Although the album does have slower songs, the upbeat ones are generally my favorites.  "Promises" could be tweaked to be a Grizzly Bear b-side, but "All Day Day Light" is distinctly the Benders' own sound, blending that of their debut with the growth evidenced on Big Echo:

Grade: B+
Blurb: If you've got $5.99, I suggest you pick up this album.

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