The Morning Benders – Big Echo 4/5
Being caught in the kaleidoscope of California indie pop can be a blessing and a curse. Too much California sun isn’t always a good thing. With Chris Taylor, of Grizzly Bear, co-producing Big Echo, the boys manage to find a more solid footing, and an album, one shouldn’t be afraid of sampling.
Big Echo‘s opener, “Excuses” has a sunny, welcoming vibe, awash in instruments, like an orchestra with no conductor, the song commands classic pop balladry circa the 1950’s. It’s easy to see the draw of Big Echo through its charming melody.
The rest of the opening half of the album are easily accessible. “Promises” big thumping beats and fuzzy vocals about a turbulent relationship, is a bittersweet track. A well crafted little ditty, calm, and simple “Wet Cement” waltzes along with echoing vocals. The charmer of the batch however, is “Cold War” a carefree, summer single, is short and sweet like a fisty summer romance.
The latter half of the record is heavier, more weighed in thick beats and climatic chords. “Pleasure Sigh” generates a feeling of Neil Young meeting the Beach Boys, a slow strummer, met with conflict in it’s climatic moments. The album comes full circle with the hymn-like “Sleeping In” its breezy vocals, and ghostly strings are found throughout the record.
The Morning Benders never stray too far from the basic elements that make a well-crafted song, creating a well-rounded album, built on warped strings, jagged guitars and a good old carefree nature to music. It’s hard not to like Big Echo.