Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Morning Benders

Add Date: March 16

Artist: The Morning Benders

Album: Big Echo

Label: Rough Trade

Genre: Rock, indie pop, psych pop

Comments: The Morning Benders' 2008 debut, Talking Through Tin Cans, while enjoyably catchy, saw the San Francisco-area band lumped onto the ever-growing heap of indie pop also-rans. Fairly or not, we had heard it all before, and it was hard to distinguish the Benders from all the other bands that were capitalizing, deliberately or not, on the success of The Shins and the Elephant 6 collective.

Fortunately, on the band's sophomore LP and Rough Trade debut, Big Echo, that's no longer the case. By enlisting the help of Chris Taylor, whose production credits are piling up as fast as the accolades for that band he's in (hint: Jay-Z loves them), The Morning Benders have found a sound that borrows from indie rock, psychedelia, folk and '60s pop, yet is decidedly their own. There are great pop songs here; try any of the first three tracks, in particular album opener "Excuses," or "All Day Daylight." But there are also some swirling, slightly folksy psych-pop gems, like "Mason Jar," "Stitches" and "Sleeping In," all of which might belong on Veckatimest or Yellow House, if Ed Droste had been replaced by a calmer, more pensive Wayne Coyne. Elements of Grizzly Bear, The Flaming Lips, '60s touchstones, The Shins, et al float through Big Echo, but from now on, there won't be any mistaking the The Morning Benders.

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