Big Wreck
The Pleasure and the Greed


3.0
good

Review

by Batareziz USER (23 Reviews)
July 15th, 2017 | 10 replies


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Pleasure and the Greed is both a step forward and a step back for the band.

Any rock music aficionado would likely agree with the statement that the 1970s were the golden age for the whole scene. From the very beginning of the decade, many bands (today considered classic) thrived in the unprecedented artistic freedom. Unconfined by any kind of musical boundaries they expanded the horizons with gusto, borrowing and introducing elements from other genres, creating new ways and means of expression. Only later, in the second half of the decade, all these experiments were shaped into new genres, the limitations that would more and more tie the hands of subsequent generations.

Why this kind of introduction, you might ask. What sort of connection is there between Big Wreck and the 1970s? The answer is simple. Like many bands of that era Ian Thornley and Co. use a similar approach – they do not work within the frames of one genre, but employ the late 1990s alternative rock as a core and bead a set of elements from other styles on it. This is the reason why it is difficult to define more precisely their sound, and this is applicable to their second album, released in 2001, - The Pleasure and the Greed.

It took Big Wreck four years to release a follow-up to the successful debut In Loving Memory Of…. However, whether they managed to maintain (or even raise) the bar ends up being a question without a definite answer. On the one hand, all 16 tracks presented on the new album measure up to their predecessor. On the other hand, and at a closer look, it becomes clear that The Pleasure and the Greed is both a step forward and a step back for the band.

The album sound is certainly more professional this time around, with the songs now cleaner and crispier. Although it seems to be a strange decision to put the vocals deeper in the mix, so sometimes it gets lost among the instruments, which manage to drown out the powerful voice of mister Thornley. Riffs became heavier, larger and somewhat monolithic, dominating over the whole album. But at the same time they sound simpler, periodically feeling monotonous (like in Undersold, Broken Hands or Mistake, for example). To add some diversity progressive elements are used more actively, but following a peculiar trend attributable to this LP, they are partially offset by a lack of intermediate facets in the sound: there is either a loud and heavy, bordering on metallic, attack or quiet and melodic moments. This shortage of more organic transitions leads to a faster weariness from some of the songs.

All these strengths and weaknesses become more evident in presence of the most objectionable moment related to the record – there are too many tracks. Clearly, if they were all top-grade this matter would have been an apparent benefit. But unfortunately the quality varies from excellent (Inhale, Everything Is Fine, Breakthrough, Ease My Mind, All Our Days Are Numbered, West Virginia) to disastrous (but there are few of those, only overlong Mistake and awfully monotone Broken Hands), with a decent helping of average tracks, which contain individual curious elements, but not enough recover the whole song. Some of the cuts leave a feeling of being in incomplete and unfinished state, which is surprising given the four year gap between The Pleasure and the Greed and the debut. It is certain that had Thornley cut 3-4 tracks (mainly from the first half), the album would have had a better chance to open up, ditching the unnecessary filler.

It is possible that some of these things contributed to the sad outcome: a year after releasing the album, which had a colder reception compared to the predecessor, Big Wreck broke up. But luckily 11 years later the band with a retooled line-up released Albatross, starting a new and a lot more interesting chapter in its history.



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user ratings (26)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Hopelust
July 17th 2017


2658 Comments


This album took a lot of time to grow for me back in the day, but I absolutely looooved "All By Design" from the moment I heard it. It's hard for me to continue listening to the rest of the album after hitting that track because all I want to do is listen to it and feel the way it makes me feel.

Batareziz
July 17th 2017


92 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Cool, Hopelust. The album does need some time to open up, but it sure has a number of great songs. I actually wanted to give it a 3.5, but it's just too unwieldy for its own sake.

Hopelust
July 17th 2017


2658 Comments


I'd more or less agree with your rating. There's some knockout tracks here, but certainly agree that Mistake and Broken Hands could've been cut.

Love the heavier, grungier aspect of this album too. It hits pretty hard for a rock album.

Batareziz
July 17th 2017


92 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh yeah, it is definitely heavier than "In Loving Memory Of". Thornley writes some simple but sweet heavy riffs. I guess it has to do with the tone.



What do you think of his Thornley stuff, "Come Again" in particular?

Hopelust
July 19th 2017


2658 Comments


Never bothered to listen to it, honestly. I was pretty pissed off when the band split so I chose not to support his solo stuff.

Batareziz
July 20th 2017


92 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well, in case you change your mind, "Come Again" has some pretty heavy stuff. So if you liked that on "The Pleasure", give "CA" a spin. Just for fun (:

BUK
July 21st 2017


22 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks for reviewing this gem! As a forever fan, I can tell you that the tracks you find dreadful there are segments of the Big Wreck fan base that live and die on those tracks and pine for the days that those type of tracks make a comeback. It's funny how we hear things! I can quibble about it all, but I am grateful that someone is paying attention after 16 years!



PS Have you ever seen them live, in person or on YouTube?

Batareziz
July 21st 2017


92 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

No problem, BUK! It bothered me somewhat that three of their albums didn't have reviews, so I decided to do it myself, trying to give them justice. I realize each BW fan has his/her favourite tracks, this is just what found to my liking or disliking.

P.S. I have seen their Dunlop sessions on YouTube, and I was impressed with the skills of each bandmember. That definitely gave me a new respect for the band.

P.P.S. I see you haven't rated "Tiny Pictures" by Thornley. Any particular reason for that?

BUK
July 23rd 2017


22 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Bat, you should also watch all the Suhr vids. Even a couple of the highlight vids. It'll give you even more insight into Ian's playing.



https://youtu.be/1kqvCH6LMBs



https://youtu.be/N5EOX_lVu0M



https://youtu.be/h8Bkmtgquy4



https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXv_ECFUO-1FRhckhVseIJc7-EUiMZo6P



As far as the TP no rating.... I forgot. I'll go do it now.



And thanks again.

Batareziz
July 23rd 2017


92 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

You're welcome, BUK. Again it's been a pleasure (and a greed (: ) to review them. Thanks for the links, I'll definitely check them out.

And do rate Tiny Pictures, as it has meager 16 votes.



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