The Big Easy
There’s nothing better than fitting album names like The Morning Benders’ latest release, Big Echo. The album is 10 tracks of indie pop that the Facebook generation has come to love: 25% spacey ambiance, 20% softly strum guitars, 30% Beach Boys-esque vocals, 15% Ringo’s thumpy and stumbly drumming, and 10% fitted denim. Of course, it’s not to say that Big Echo isn’t original, but just enough that it might take a listen or two to distinguish it from the recent flock of post-punk and folk fiends.
“Excuses” exemplifies the Ringo-thumping combined with an oddly dead-on John and Paul impression, horizontal melodies and all. The sudden violin adds to the effect. Sadly, this might be the album’s most moving moment.
Songs like “Promises,” “Wet Cement,” and “Cold War (Nice Clean Fight)” seem almost foreign in nature as the Californian band begins to sound like it was apprenticed by Phoenix or Mystery Jets; at least they’re fun and catchy in their own right. Despite this, Big Echo starts showing a lack of depth found within those respective bands’ recent releases. “Mason Jar” and “Stitches” sound almost strikingly similar, both starting slow and airy and then crescendo-ing to fit the rest of the album’s pace. The tracks do showcase somewhat of an attention to dynamics, which are intensified by the closing “Sleeping In,” a nice, over-reverberated wall of sound.
To say Big Echo is a solid pop album wouldn’t be too much of a long shot, but without memorable moments of release and climactic realizations, the disc falls short a few notches from last year’s slew of hip sing-alongs. Without playing it safe, The Morning Benders, in their own right, do have potential make these tracks shine live.