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Big Echo [CD]

The Morning Benders Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 11.69 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Music

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Biography

BIG ECHO is an album made to be played LOUD. And it sounds great on headphones. The band that made it is called
the morning benders.

They recorded the album in San Francisco and mixed it in Brooklyn. CHRISTOPHER CHU and CHRIS TAYLOR (Grizzly Bear) produced it in eleven days.
On the twelfth day they rejoiced.

"Shouting into a valley. Big Shout: BIG ECHO."

The ... Read more in Amazon's The Morning Benders Store

Visit Amazon's The Morning Benders Store
for 3 albums, 4 photos, discussions, and more.

Frequently Bought Together

Big Echo + Pop etc + Talking Through Tin Cans
Price For All Three: 29.38

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Product details

  • Audio CD (28 Jun 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Rough Trade Records
  • ASIN: B00347ZYDO
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 74,281 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Excuses
2. Promises
3. Wet Cement
4. Cold War (Nice Clean Fight)
5. Pleasure Sighs
6. Hand Me Downs
7. Mason Jar
8. All Day Day Light
9. Stitches
10. Sleeping In

Product Description

BBC Review

If it's a pleasantly summery sound you're after while the sun beats down–best not get too used to it, eh?–then you could do a lot worse than seek out the second album from Californian quartet The Morning Benders. Splicing Beach Boys harmonies with the indie-folk mutterings of Grizzly Bear–imagine the New Yorkers had recorded Veckatimest on the west, rather than the east, coast–Big Echo is an immediate, inviting listen. It's not breaking any boundaries of inspired expression, but for what it is it's a fine set indeed.

The record starts wonderfully, the strings of Excuses swelling like shore-kissing waves ripe for riding. From here the band coasts to solid ground, Promises rather more steady of footing and stirring thoughts of the gently rocking likes of Band of Horses and Midlake, assuming the members of both had replaced their naval-gazing introspective tendencies for a sound rather more bubbly and boisterous. That's not to say there isn't a tenderness on display, especially when frontman Chris Chu lets lyrically loose about regretting growing up too fast–but unlike the indie-folk luminaries of the contemporary landscape, The Morning Benders aren't getting lost in melancholy. Theirs is an outlook largely of optimism, and it's well suited to accessible arrangements that waste little time in establishing their direction.

When the record slows–as on the sublime Pleasure Sighs and Stitches–the Grizzly Bear parallel is at its most apparent. The connection goes behind the scenes, too–Grizzly Bear bassist Chris Taylor produces. The Morning Benders' ability to shuffle their stylistic pack is well accomplished, though, as at times they recall the easy-going rock-outs of Weezer as heard through a Vampire Weekend filter–the brief but bouncy Cold War is a case in point. But despite the inherent accessibility exhibited throughout Big Echo, the album doesn't linger long in the memory; there are intermittent moments of true sing-along potential, but the overall feeling is that this band is still a work in progress, and that their best material will arrive in another album's time. It's strange given the hefty hooks within this collection, but the instant-hits don't translate into long-term stereo fixtures.

Perhaps the marketplace is too crowded at present for Big Echo to shine as widely as it could. Perhaps these songs simply lack the legs to go the distance, despite a prettiness that should be of mass appeal. Whatever the reason, The Morning Benders aren't quite there yet. But they're firmly in control of where it is they want to go, so fireworks next time around shouldn't be ruled out.

--Mike Diver

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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Echo, Echo, Echo 18 Feb 2013
Format:Vinyl|Verified Purchase
This album is one of my favourite albums of all time. The production, the guitars, and of course the beautiful voice that sings to you throughout is simply bliss. I absolutely love it, and had to have it on vinyl. I will admit, out of all the records I've bought, this one arrived in the best condition so far. The record was spotless! The people that pressed this record clearly care about their vinyl. Brilliant album, brilliant vinyl, brilliant buy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! 9 Sep 2011
Format:Audio CD
It takes a couple of listens to even start appreciating all the layers in this album, but you'll find that it's full of great guitar licks, interesting lyrics and nice harmonies. It's just all-round excellent.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By Red on Black TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
3.5 stars

In the history of great band names "The Morning Benders" would struggle to make the top 10,000, that said their album "Big Echo" on the Rough Trade label is very enjoyable and well worth checking out. The Morning Benders are from Berkeley, California and consist of Julian Harmon, Tim Or, and Chris Chu. They specialise in a electic mix of 1950s pop balladry combined with a Shins like pop sensibility and are expertly produced by Grizzly Bear multi-instrumentalist Chris Taylor for good measure (albeit perhaps a little bit too much in his own bands image). The result is an album that is unfailingly bright, upbeat and sunny and the influence of our good friend Brian Wilson pervades without overwhelming. There are multi layers to be found on this album after repeated listens and many hidden depths.

The Big Echo starts brilliantly with two strongest songs on the album. "Excuses" would not be out of place in played at a 1950s high dance with only the heavily strummed acoustic guitar in the background giving always its contemporary feel. The vocals are almost doo wop in origin and echoes of the Flamingoes, The Dells and The Coasters abound. Check it out you will love it. Second up is "Promises" which has much more of that ambience on it that Grizzly Bear captured on "Two Weeks" from Veckatimest, it shuffles along beautifully and builds to a excellent huge crescendo as lead singer Chris Chu announces "that I cant help but thinking we grew up to fast". Next up is the gently rolling "Wet Cement" a lovely slow gentle slice of Baroque pop which is hugely commercial. Track 4 "Cold War" is great but at 1.44 minutes it finishes far too soon and while "Hand me downs" is playful enough the album has a slightly soggy middle and nothing to match the wonderful openers.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent pop/something more 7 April 2010
By Jay James - Published on Amazon.com
The Morning Benders' Big Echo is both accessible and elusive. Much of the songwriting is simple: beautifully and thoughtfully crafted melodies sung beautifully, seamless transitions, etc. But the final products become much, much more. Every song is extremely layered, offering the listener a chance to discover something new even after multiple listenings. Ultimately, what results is a contrast between the songwriting and arrangements/production that pushes the listening experience into a different, more complex event. Definitely one of the best albums I've heard in a long time, and I look forward to listening to it for years to come.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent pop/something more 9 Mar 2010
By Jay James - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The Morning Benders' Big Echo is both accessible and elusive. Much of the songwriting is simple: beautifully and thoughtfully crafted melodies sung beautifully, seamless transitions, etc. But the final products become much, much more. Every song is extremely layered, offering the listener a chance to discover something new even after multiple listenings. Ultimately, what results is a contrast between the songwriting and arrangements/production that pushes the listening experience into a different, more complex event. Definitely one of the best albums I've heard in a long time, and I look forward to listening to it for years to come.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice release! 19 Aug 2010
By T. Duham - Published on Amazon.com
I am a newcomer to this band from Berkeley CA. But I was an instant convert. Great pop hooks, but with a lot of eccentric things to keep you interested. I get the Phil Spector thing, but Brian Wilson / Beach Boys / Pet Sounds is what comes to mind for me. I say buy it! it's a refreshing difference to what is out there for American pop music.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spatial Experimentation at its finest 11 Mar 2010
By J. Loudon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
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
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT album!! 29 Sep 2010
By MeredithNCSU girl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
A friend of mine shared this album with me and I fell in love. Never had heard of them previously. The sounds are beautiful, upbeat, and fun to listen to. Perfect for a party, work out, or chill out time! Definitely recommend!
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