No, these boys from Berkley have a style all their own, merging sunny harmonies with brooding, buzzing guitars. The album is produced by Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor, and he has a great ear for sonic depth, allowing notes to ring out clearly across a wide spectrum. And although at times, like on “Mason Jar” and “Stitches,” lead Bender Chris Chu’s voice recalls Grizzly Bear’s sound, those moments are an afterthought on the disc. The majority of the time, Taylor allows The Morning Benders to paint with colors from their own palette, and it shows off their strengths beautifully, fluidly oscillating between grungey garage rock and surf anthems.
The songs on Big Echo are some of the most emotionally expressive indie pop I’ve heard in the past few years. Chu’s voice, without sounding strained, can communicate emotion typically reserved for the Jeff Mangums of the world. On “Promises,” he belts the phrase, “I can’t help thinking we grew up too fast,” and I believe that he means it. This is no false emotion; there’s a genuine sadness that The Morning Benders had to grow up. Sometimes I share it – these kids could make a dynamite summer teen rock album.
- from Pretty Much Amazing