The Morning Benders - Big Echo
What a beautiful thing it is to find an album that you know will be your favorite for some time to come. This was my experience after hearing The Morning Bender's Big Echo. Returning fans will find the band they love from Talking Through Tin Cans to have evolved in both sound and confidence. Newcomers will find them to be of the same brand - though a different flavor - of My Morning Jacket, Tokyo Police Club, Vampire Weekend, and Monsters of Folk.
It's not always the big change in style or sound that makes the big difference. The risks TMB take here rest in nuance and subtlety. There's a sweetness of intimacy I don't really hear on anything else out there at the moment. The overall sound of Big Echo draws you in and captivates you like a snake charmer (you being the snake, of course).
"Wet Cement" is a perfect example of this. It's gentle and soothing, light and breezy; and its poetry has an effect all of its own. The opening lines are, "We met one day in wet cement, where we glued our eyes shut, and pressed with our fists". "Cold War (Nice Clean Fight)" is deceivingly the catchiest tune in the collection. The intro and first verse are good, but one can easily make the mistake of skipping to the next track before hearing the chorus that will undoubtedly be on repeat in your head for the rest of the day. The last song on the album is "Sleepin In", an appropriate title for a lullaby-ish track letting the listener know it's okay to go sleep; all is well in the world; good music still exists.
The biggest problem I had with Big Echo was with how short it is. I found myself getting angry when it was all over; desperately longing for more like a child nearing the end of his bowl of ice cream. I'm not exaggerating - it pissed me off. But I guess that's the best complaint a band could ask for, isn't it? The sound is consistent: nothing to jumpstart a party, but nothing to ruin the vibe either. Flirting with aesthetic perfection is one thing, actually achieving it - a beautiful rarity, indeed. I have absolutely no negative things to say. Big Echo is a must-have.
Other key tracks: "Mason Jar", "Promises", and "Hand Me Downs".
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