The Morning Benders - Big Echo (Cover Artwork)

The Morning Benders

Big Echo (2010)

Rough Trade

Imagine a scenery of luscious palm trees nestling themselves on the coast of a perfect white beach. It serves as a perfect place for a gentle get-together featuring acoustic sing-alongs, laughing beach dwellers getting drunk off Mai Tais, and overwhelming tropical fruits being mashed into mouths. This is a perfect description of what the sounds of the Morning Benders' sophomore album, Big Echo, features (if you couldn't already tell by the album art).

The California indie pop band surprised the musical world by "doing the surf-rock thing" the right way. The album blasts off with "Excuses," a true, modern early '60s rock-influenced gentle jam--a very easy-listening tune that includes many verbal "dum dum"s and "da da"s throughout the track. The next song, "Promises" is more advanced and kicks off with a thumping guitar and bass riff that escalates into extreme vocal energy with yells of growing up too fast. "Wet Cement" is a simple, relaxing jam of bouncing drums and harmonic background vocals yelping out some "whoa"s. "Cold War" is less than two minutes, which focuses on a fast tempo to electrify its mood. "Pleasure Sighs" is a drowsing tune that seems to be unnecessary until its end, in which it explodes, but only to quickly rekindle its snoozes it began with. "Hand Me Downs" is catchier, with an ear-friendly guitar riff and drums that take control. "Mason Jar" is another slow song that works better than "Pleasure Sighs" with its experiential sounds and dazing effects. "All Day Day Light" returns the album back to the hazy beach sounds of relaxing rock, where "Stitches" enables a chilling feeling with its creative escalation. The album ends with "Sleeping In," a song that starts off slow (works perfect for the title), that mixes itself with impressing, slow indie pop sounds forming into a electric guitar riff that powers itself into a collision of soft vocals and loud instruments that end the album with perfection.

Big Echo is a piece of well-created art. The Morning Benders find themselves making each track completely different from the rest, creating weird and unusual sounds to animate the listeners' feelings while engaging. If you listen to their debut, "Talking Through Tin Cans," you can understand the evolution that has taken place formed within this band--a shift from generic poppy jams to this certain soft ocean rock.

So take off your shoes and bury them within the white sand, closing your eyes and drifting to a world unknown. The sounds of the Morning Benders' Big Echo will find itself fitting perfectly into this world.