Review by Ellen Eldridge
A thick band of power chords grinds out early in the opening track, “Head Together,” on Big Wreck’s Albatross, effectively introducing the band’s first new album in ten years. For fans unfamiliar with Big Wreck, comparisons to Soundgarden and Led Zeppelin are fair considering Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Rush, Alice In Chains) executive-produced the release along with co-producers vocalist/guitarist Ian Thornley and Eric Ratz (Billy Talent, Cancer Bats).
The official video for the title track has already surpassed half a million views on YouTube and Thornley made headlines not too long ago when he auditioned to be the lead singer of Velvet Revolver, but turned down the gig when asked to put down the guitar and just sing.
Songs like “Glass Room” reverberate off the walls like a sullen lullaby at high volume. Cascading guitars bounce along with vocals crying at the same pitch as the bended notes. The interplay and meshing make the song dance out of the speakers.
That same grinding one would expect from Alice in Chains occurs again and again throughout Albatross, and the effect of a grungy and thick crunch parodies the pop idea of the title on “You Caught My Eye.” The solo sings and howls out like a dog in the night; a very earthy and moody track indeed.
A reunion between Berklee College of Music classmates Thornley and guitarist Brian Doherty arose out of the rekindling of their friendship. Big Wreck followed its name into a band breakup a year after its sophomore release in part due to outside pressures and a major label machine whose parts were no longer in sync.
Thornley believes the current lineup of Big Wreck (rounded out by guitarist Paulo Neta, drummer Brad Park and bassist Dave McMillan) is a natural extension of its former self.
“It’s still the same thing,” Thornley said. “I’m still looking to get off and get that feeling. I’m still searching for the perfect thing. I hope I never find it.”
Big Wreck toured Canada with Theory of a Deadman from Nov 16 through December 18, and will tour the U.S. in early 2013. Look for Albatross Tuesday February 19 on Zoë/Rounder Records.