The Morning Benders – Big Echo (Rough Trade) 26/06/2010

June 13, 2010 by  

The title of this album gives a hint of change in the sound of The Morning Benders. Big Echo sounds like a bigger, more serious album than their debut, Talking through tin-cans, and as you listen to it you find out that this is just about right. Since their last album, the young trio from San Francisco has teamed up with Chris Taylor from Grizzly Bear as their producer, and they’re releasing the album on Rough Trade. It looks like this might be their breakthrough year.

The opening track is an instant classic, with it’s sweet melodies and a beat that makes me want to hold someone’s hand and sway from side to side. Singer Chris Chu confidently sings about being young and in love, and I find myself singing along on lines like “we are so smooth now”, every time stopping halfway through the line in embarrassment of my own voice. Normally, I don’t have a problem with this, but with this song I feel like I’m destroying something. Like when you make a joke that’s just too harsh and people give you that look and say “come on, really?? The feeling you get when people look at you like that, that’s the feeling I get when I belt out the lyrics to this song.

Promises, the first single, is not as idyllic, but it’s still pretty up beat, climaxing in my favorite line of the album, when Chris Chu wonders, “I can’t help thinking we grew up too fast”. You feel like he really means it, and it might be true as well, because they’ve made a very mature album, even though they’re all in their early 20s. I’m sure they could’ve made a real fun summer pop album full of hits, but as they say themselves, it seems like they grew up a bit fast, and decided to make a more serious album, and I’m glad they did.

The first half of the album is very accessible and fun to listen to, ending with the fast-paced and effective Cold War (Nice clean fight), but after that the album changes into a more mellow tone, with more complicated and slow songs, with the exception of All Day Daylight, with it’s driving drums and handclaps, it seems like it would fit better in the first half of the album. The highlight of the second part of the album is Stitches, a song that is just a long build up, like a really good post rock song that ends up in a climax of shimmery guitars and chanting voices. It would have been the perfect way to end the album, instead the album ends up with the more anonymous Sleeping In, which is also a good song, but I don’t think it’s on par with rest of the album.

The Morning Benders have made a great album, with some help from some great people. The album is a perfect mix of their sunny San Francisco attitude and Chris Taylor’s Brooklyn sound. It makes me ache for summer.