Review Summary: Big Wreck deliver the biggest surprise of the year, their best album, and one of the best modern rock albums to come out in years.
For an album as great as this to suddenly, and surprisingly, appear out of nowhere, it truly is a real treat to see. Big Wreck's back and they are making wise decisions throughout, featuring stellar vocals, great lyrics and stunning guitar solos (that thrill way more than Soundgarden's latest middle-of-the-road effort, King Animal). Though they've always been a strong band, this album helps put them over-the-top and shows that Ian Thornley is one of the most impressive lyricists in modern rock history. His words here help craft an album that isn't only catchy, but truly meaningful and engaging all the way through. Even when it slows down, there's always something to look forward to in this modern rock classic.
For instance, the single that they released, called "A Million Days", kind of flew over my head the first-time I heard it, but it's the kind of track that you can't help but keep coming back to, as it tends to get better-and-better with each listen. The chorus in particular is perfectly impressive, as Thornley drops down an octave or two to sing "Stay with me for a million days"
with all his heart and more. However, before the chorus arrives, you'd expect this to be a song about fighting somebody in the parking lot or something along those lines; especially considering how aggressive the verses beforehand sound. "Do What You Will" comes in later-on during the album, and it opens with a nice chuckle at the start of it, delving into a song that is a ton of fun to follow all the way through. Before you'd even know it, the song ends in an instant because you'll be too busy listening in to all of the neat little instrumentals happening beneath Thornley's solid vocals (especially closer to the end).
"Head Together" opens the album up in style and class and features some of Ian Thornley's best lyrics, especially the opening lines "Those glances ricochet off everybody else, but they're sticking to me like glue"
, which leads into the impressive single and, after that, leads into my favourite track on the record, "Wolves". The song is the easy-listening song on the album, it's mellow and uplifting with delightful instrumental work throughout that perfectly compliments Thornley's impressive vocal capabilities and magnificent lyrics about breaking through the invisible boundaries of life that we ourselves set-up. Following that masterpiece, the title track that follows, named "Albatross", and it is yet another home-run on the near-perfect album that starts off with an amazing guitar intro and then leads into it's strong, simple-minded chorus about leaving home and happily getting lost along the way, very much the sometimes lonely life of a travelling musician. Another first-rate, excellent song.
"Your Glass Room" and "Control" are both a strong set of tracks, "Your Glass Room" benefits from potentially having the best chorus on the album, but "Control" is the longest track on the album, clocking in at 6 and a half minutes, and it uses that time effectively to deliver some of the catchiest lyrics you'll ever listen to (especially the lines after the first chorus, "I can be a picture, beat it with me, beat it baby, beat the monkey back down"
). Speaking of time, "Time" concludes the album in a peaceful, poetic kind of fashion, a bit like Staind's climatic "Something To Remind You" off of their impressive and latest self-titled effort. The song is definitely not the best track off the album, but it doesn't need to be, as it perfectly compliments the previous tracks before it and feels like a fitting conclusion, as it makes you reminisce about your own past, present and future to come.
With all of that said and done, it's hard to not say that Albatross
is their best album ever, and the absolute best album that I heard in 2012. It delivers at a constant ratio and never disappoints, just when you think they're slowing it down a bit too much, they don't, and they throw in a classic guitar solo, like during "You Caught My Eye" (which is probably the weakest song on the album, but it benefits from having that amazing guitar solo which helps make it an easy-listen). The album is truly impress on all fronts and it's definitely the best mainstream rock album to come out in years. Give it a shot, and you won't regret it.