Chris Chu started the Morning Benders as a solo project, recording his first EP, Loose Change, completely on his own. As a student at Berkeley in California, Chris soon joined forces with classmates Julian Harmon, Joe Ferrell, and Tim Or. The band's second EP, Boarded Doors, was released in 2007 and was received well by local publications, but still failed to gain much interest outside of the Bay Area. After taking a studio job to help finance a full length record, the band released Talking Through Tin Cans in 2008. With Chu handling most of the production and editing with the help of producer and engineer Patrick Brown, the new album garnered a surprising amount of success and was even named by iTunes as the best indie/alternative album of 2008.
Now, two years later, The Morning Benders are at it again; this time with more attention paid to the sounds and effects in the background while still maintaining their focus on the intoxicating melodies. One of Chu's goals for the record was to expand the band's sound in a style similar to Phil Spector's "wall of sound." The first track, "Excuses," does just that with a host of new instrumentation. Additionally, the album title, Big Echo, fits these new ideals beautifully. The band sounds much fuller with this release and a great deal of the credit should go to the reverb and echo that keep the listener's ears busy while also craving more.
Although "Excuses" is the clear single, the remainder of Big Echo flows brilliantly together. On slower tracks like "Pleasure Sighs" and "Mason Jar," the decreased tempos are balanced by increased dynamic range. It may sound experimental to some, but Chris Chu has clearly thought everything through on this record. Comparisons were drawn to the Beach Boys on their first album and while there are still a few glimpses of Brian Wilson's trademark magic hidden in the mix, The Morning Benders have created a sound that is very much their own and will please both independent and mainstream markets.
Similar Artists: The Shins, the Beach Boys, Vampire Weekend
Track Suggestion: Excuses