Review Summary: Big Wreck's first work in nearly a decade sees a memorable return to form that they had been known for.
Our curent music era should not be taken for granted. Moreso, we should be thankful to certain extents that we should be so lucky. There are specific occurrences that have become more consistent during the last decade than in any other point of our commercial music history. Whether it pleases, aggravates, rivets, or infuriates us, it undoubtedly has given us all faith as music fans at one point or another. These specific occurrences are the reformation of bands who have long since claimed to have called it quits. While some argue that specific bands should have stayed in the grave or have soiled their reputation with their newest works, we are ultimately living in a time where bands rising from six feet under is more common than unheard of.
One such group is Canadian rock quintet Big Wreck. While frontman Ian Thornley continued to make a name for himself after the band’s separation (under the solo name “Thornley”), it appears the longing for a reuniting of old friends and creative influence was indeed too much to bear. Which brings us to Albatross
, the group’s first work in nearly a decade, and a memorable return to form that they had been known for.
An atypicality of this return is a weak backbone to the album. This can be exemplified through their past album names: In Loving Memory Of...
and The Pleasure and the Greed
. While the former’s music conveyed a mood of love lost and the life that follows, Pleasure & Greed acted as a tour-de-force of self-indulgence, and the consequences that follow. Albatross
is... well, Albatross. Perhaps it was just necessary for the group to start hashing out whatever ideas they could to get wheels turning, or perhaps the album is just a collection of homeless riffs and leads that have been polished up and given a new purpose. Whatever the case, the emotional and insightful constructs that had been present in the past show some absenteeism this time around.
All that aside, Big Wreck’s revival was certainly not in vain. In fact, the band has achieved an ebb and flow this time around that cannot be disputed. Nearly every track has something to offer the undying fan of original and inventive rock music. Wolves
features a fantastically uplifting chorus and some notable lead-play in between, making it arguably one of the best tracks on the album. Glass Room
starts off with a seemingly simple chord progression before moving to a groovy bass-lead verse. The song then sees a rendition of the intro riff building toward a catchy, running chorus section, making the overall vibe of the track surprisingly pleasant. Control
possesses 60s and/or 70s guitar-tone trends that spark up thoughts of hazy rooms and vibrant colours; it prides itself on being a significant mood setter amongst the latter half of Albatross
. Rest of The World
is the band’s seemingly once-per-album ode to sludgy, crunchy rock, much like their previous songs West Virginia
and Fall Through the Cracks
. It takes the cake as the heaviest track, complete with large interval jumps from the rhythm guitars, hard hitting drums, and vocals that jump up an octave or two at the chorus. It is possible that the only track worth noting as a miss is You Caught My Eye
, as when it is compared to the rest, it just comes off as unvaried and uninteresting.
Beyond the aforementioned tracks, there are numerous other crafty surprises that are ready to be discovered on Albatross
. The album as a whole is likely their most consistent to date, and builds a genuine anticipation to see the group perform, as the vast majority of the songs give off the notion that they would sound extraordinary live.
Overall, Big Wreck’s talent and originality are very much in tact after such an extended hiatus. It might not be a complete reinvention of the wheel, but it stands as proof that not all returning acts from the great beyond should be considered better off dead. Albatross
is very likely to impress old and new fans alike, and should be worthy of mentioning as a contender in any best rock album chart of 2012.