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Talking Through Tin Cans (Bonus Track Version)

The Morning Benders

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Album Review

Arriving at the onset of summer, Talking Through Tin Cans marks the Morning Benders' full-length debut on +1 Records. Singer/guitarist Chris Chu originally launched the band as a solo project in 2005, and he remains in the driver's seat on these 11 tracks, handling most of the production duties while claiming all songwriting credits. His tunes are quick and economical, often relying on clear-cut hooks and melodies rather than ambience, and much of Talking Through Tin Cans could very well be a solo record. But Chu's three bandmates do make themselves known — not necessarily in the harmonies that flank many of Chu's vocals (those are the frontman's own overdubs), but certainly in the sonic explorations that pepper Side B, from the nocturnal "Wasting Time" to the haunting reverb and echoing guitars that make "Chasing a Ghost" such an aptly titled song. San Francisco's pop scene has seen its share of strong newcomers in 2008, and the Morning Benders join the ranks of the Botticellis in offering up an album that's youthful but studied, as if the bands' proximity to the Pacific Ocean has bestowed upon them the same gifts for melody and summery songcraft that helped the define the California sound several decades prior. The Morning Benders aren't nearly as indebted to Brian Wilson as the Botticellis, and the trebly strum of Chu's acoustic guitar (which anchors pop tunes like "Crosseyed" and "Damnit Anna") pushes them closer to the singer/songwriter realm than the ornate sunshine pop of the Beach Boys. But Talking Through Tin Cans is definitely a pop record — one that's full of crisp tambourine snaps, double-tracked vocals, dual guitars, and piano plunkings — and the Morning Benders have a fine debut in their hungover hands.

Customer Reviews

Excellent

The Shins and The Strokes are some pretty fine comparisons for a band that has, so far, only released two EPs. This debut album more than holds its head up in that company (it's a more listenable disc overall than Wincing The Night Away); in fact, the band sound closer to new indie favourites Delta Spirit (or, on a couple of songs, Band of Horses), in their loose-limbed, largely acoustic, musicality. The Berkeley, Californian band will be huge, among those people who enjoy the pop rock strand running from the Beatles through 70s Californian singer-songwriters, and the alternative indie scene today. At song 6, Waiting for a War, the band completely hit their stride - hook-laden bouncy and mesmerising in the way that The Shins occasionally manage. There is not a mediocre song in the 11, not a moment that invites a 'skip', even though the band switch moods and styles breezily and often. An excellent debut.

Biography

Formed: 2005 in Berkeley, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Equally indebted to the Shins and Brian Wilson, the Morning Benders mix sunny pop songcraft with jangling guitars, collegiate wit, and a contemporary indie ethic. Frontman Chris Chu launched the group as a solo project in 2005, using a single microphone and laptop to record his first batch of songs. The Loose Change EP arrived in September 2006, and Chu subsequently opened the Benders' doors to several of his UC Berkeley classmates, including drummer Julian Harmon, bassist Tim Or, and guitarist/organist...
Full bio
Talking Through Tin Cans (Bonus Track Version), The Morning Benders
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