Big Wreck
In Loving Memory Of...


3.0
good

Review

by Batareziz USER (63 Reviews)
July 14th, 2017 | 17 replies


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It’s not that Big of a Wreck, quite the opposite really.

1997 in music was a somewhat regular year. The echoes of the alternative rock explosion in the early 90s were still in the air, however the popularity of that genre was in a declining trend. In terms of big records a certain diversity was present: Foo Fighters, Faith No More, U2, Oasis and others all released long-awaited follow-ups to various degree of success. There was also a number of intriguing debuts by the new bands. It is the category, where the first record by the Canadian Big Wreck can be placed. The album name was In Loving Memory Of….

The LP clearly sounds like a product of its time. The musical frame is alternative rock with its overloaded and fuzzy guitars and somber lyrics. However, the band refuses to follow the well-defined genre boundaries in their attempts to find their own, distinctive sound. That’s why it is all peppered with some Southern rock (represented, among other things, by the occasional slide guitar) and a smidgen of blues. Overall, in their approach Big Wreck is evidently more inspired by the 1970s rock pioneers than their own contemporaries. It is quite possibly the reason for the lack of polished pop hooks, aimed at the unsophisticated audience, and a requirement for a more reflective immersion via the atmosphere and textures in the songs.

For those with a fleeing knowledge of Big Wreck the first two songs that open the album – The Oaf and That Song – may sound familiar, and not surprisingly so, as both were released as singles and enjoyed enough popularity. The contemplative ballad Blown Wide Open belongs there as well, since it was also released to promote the album. Then the subsequent tracks on the album begin to blend to a certain degree, which may be for the lack of elements to help to provide more personality. This sameness slowly starts to dispel around Under the Lighthouse, and then Big Wreck discharges a decent triplet of Fall Through the Cracks, By the Way and Between You and I. The final track Overemphasizing is also of note, particularly in its vocals: on the one hand Thornley gives a heartfelt performance, but at the same time it is as if he parodies such a manner popularized by Eddie Vedder, which in turn became a cliché due to numerous imitators.

This should illustrate quite clearly the main issue with the album, which doesn’t let to rate it higher than just “good”. And it is not related to a number of filler tracks in the middle, but rather the fact that only a handful songs feel cohesive. As for the rest of In Loving Memory Of…, it possesses a crude quality. In no way it is the fault of the musicians as they know their way around respective instruments and it is a pleasure to listen to this component (particularly expressive are the moments with slide guitar). But these various compositional choices do not always gel. It might have to do with the fact that the album, essentially, is a CD of demos (as Thornley mentions in one of the interviews), which was submitted by the band for appraisal to their label and later released following the firm decision of the management. This can explain that sense of inconsistency the LP leaves.

One more thing that should be noted is Ian Thornley’s voice. Despite the initial superficial similarity to inimitable Chris Cornell, eventually there is a realization that the Big Wreck vocalist is not a clone but a thing in itself. Ian possesses his own individual tones and emotional palette, so regardless of a certain rawness to the vocals on this album he definitely has character and uniqueness. And even though In Loving Memory Of… is an uneven record, one thing is certain – the foundation is set, with the Big Wreck sound taking roots on this album.



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user ratings (53)
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
bloc
July 14th 2017


59545 Comments


Nice to see this get a review. That Song is a classic in particular. I listen to it all the time

Digging: Sewerslvt - Draining Love Story

Kalopsia
July 14th 2017


3384 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good review.

good band. underrated and under-viewed, but understandably so.

ShadowRemains
July 14th 2017


25134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is def better than a 3, one of the better straight rock albums out there

Batareziz
July 14th 2017


215 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hey, bloc, if you like that song (see what I did there), give a listen to their other albums (if you haven't done so already). There's a bunch of other great songs there.

Batareziz
July 14th 2017


215 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Agree, Kalopsia, Big Wreck is underrated and under-viewed, although I'm not sure if it's fair.

Batareziz
July 14th 2017


215 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sorry, ShadowRemians, but for some reason I couldn't get into both of their pre-breakup albums,, only some of the songs I like. But I love "Albatross" and everything that followed.

bloc
July 15th 2017


59545 Comments


Thornley is also a crazy underrated guitarist

Batareziz
July 15th 2017


215 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Ain't that the truth. It's a pity that with all that talent behind the band, they can't make it bigger. Nevertheless, it's nice they are around.

tcat84
July 16th 2017


1290 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Batareziz



What did you think of Grace Street? For me that's their weakest album so far... If I'd have to go in order I'd go :



In loving memory>pleasure>ghosts>Albatross>GraceSt.





Batareziz
July 16th 2017


215 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

tcat84, to be honest, I prefer their later albums, and I love "Grace Street" the same as "Albatross" and "Ghosts", though it took me a few more listens to get it. For whatever reason the band's early albums leave me rather indifferent, though they are nice still.

tcat84
July 16th 2017


1290 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

They have pretty different sounds, I can understand that.

But I've been a Big Wreck fan since the beginning (I'm old as fuck, at least for this site haha). I found albatross to be pretty good but didn't live up to the first 2, really liked Ghosts, but just didn't like most of Grace Street unfortunately. I'll give it a few more goes though

Batareziz
July 16th 2017


215 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's a great band, and the main thing is that you listen to Big Wreck at all, tcat84. Everything else is just preferences.

Oh, and this is what I like, when a band attempts diverse sounds but maintains its personality. So in this regard I consider "Grace Street" a success. Give it a chance :]] I will try and do the same for the first two albums.

NYdubber
July 19th 2017


98 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I get all of what is being said good and bad about this album. I didn't care for it when it first came out (I was ~14...Misfits, Pantera...I had other interests musically speaking) but, a few years later it finally sort of made sense to me.



Their other stuff never really hit me until Ghosts. That album is sooooooooo good. Grace Street has been slow to get my attention. While not really boring or bad in any way, it's maybe just a tad too drawn out...? It's ~70 minutes long...that's concept album territory.

Batareziz
July 19th 2017


215 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well, I guess to each his own, NYdubber. I dig a lot both "Albatross" and "Ghosts". "Grace Street" took me a while, but now I enjoy it more and more with each spin, and it doesn't feel drawn out to me.

Oh, and it's slightly less than 70 minutes (:

bloc
November 30th 2019


59545 Comments


That Song is one of the best rockers of the 90s

ShadowRemains
November 30th 2019


25134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

and this performance of it is unreal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6d4cblamdQ

bloc
December 1st 2019


59545 Comments


Hell yeah I remember watching that when it came out. I like the changeups they did on it. Thornley is such an underrated guitarist



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