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coverpic flag US - California - Full Moon 170 - 07/26/10

The Morning Benders
Big Echo
Rough Trade / Playground

Big Echo is Californian indie-pop band The Morning Benders' second full length album, after their critically acclaimed debut Talking Through Tin Cans (2008). It is produced by vocalist and song writer Christopher Chu and Chris Taylor (Grizzly Bear).

The sea side painted cover art on Big Echo implies that this is a summer album. Probably filled with sunny harmonies, lush surf moods and general retro pop delight. And the assumption is mostly true. Because Big Echo is all that, added a bitter sweet light-heartedness.

The album opens with the single "Excuses", an adoring piece of surf chamber pop. It is followed by the more waltzy "Promises", which with the line: "I can't helping thinking we grew up to fast" nails the album to the edge of romantic melancholy. But never turning too sentimental, as does neither of the other tracks on Big Echo.

What "Promises", which by all means is a perfectly charming tune, has in common with the rest of the album is a sense of ambition that almost overwhelms the charm. Not so much in songs like the more stripped down "Wet Cement", "All Day Day Light" and the closure "Sleeping in". But it lingers in them as well, the not so pleasant scent of stylised fun. Not that 'stylised' is a fault, per se, but on Big Echo it is disturbingly alienating, even if it gets better when you listen with headphones. And that is a fault in such, as this is supposed to be happily shared music.

So, summarized, The Morning Benders have with Big Echo delivered a pretty good echo of a great summer album.

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