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The Morning Benders: Big Echo

B

The Morning Benders

Album: Big Echo
Label: Rough Trade

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The title doesn’t lie: The Morning Benders’ second album is both sonically hefty and generous with the reverb. But even while Big Echo’s dreamy, cinema-ready chamber pop provides a fine reason to blow out your speakers, it still feels hemmed in by the boundaries of modern indie rock. With whale-song guitars seemingly lifted from Beach House B-sides, toddling rhythms that could have come from Big Echo producer Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear, and world-music flourishes polished and pruned with Beirut’s ear for stateliness, each song sounds familiar, and when taken as a whole, the album tends to drift by. The songwriting is worth a close listen, though. “Sleeping In” closes the album in a twinkling haze that dissipates for an epic, crashing-cymbals vocal round. “All Day Daylight” swaggers with walking guitars, handclaps, and Chris Chu’s nostalgia-mining narrative. On “Promises,” Chu’s vocals recall The Walkmen—but only because he seems so damn weary during the chorus. Ultimately, the lushness is merely an entry point, and the influence-ripping distracts, but doesn’t derail: Big Echo is best enjoyed for its clutch of memorable moments pinned on a pretty backdrop.