Street Sounds: Band rises above crash

Morning Star music reviewer Dean Gordon-Smith welcomes the reunion of Big Wreck with their brand new album, Albatross.

After coming close to the big fade out, Big Wreck has come up for air with a comeback album, Albatross.

This recording is the result of Big Wreck founders Ian Thornley and Brian Doherty reuniting after eight years to play shows as Thornley and Big Wreck in 2010. A smart and productive move as evidenced by the swaggering creative energy all through this album.

Although Big Wreck was formed in 1994, this album is just their third. After their second album tanked in 2001, they split up the next year with singer/guitarist Thornley going on to form his own band. The years have been kind to Thornley and company as the album is a mix of celestial passages, melodic power songs (Wolves), dirty tortured riffs (All is Fair, You Caught My Eye) and bluesy expression (Control).

The five-piece Canadian/American band has sidestepped away from scrapping around for hits and has decided to focus on creativity and big time rocking. They’ve tapped into a late-period Zeppelin atmosphere that suits them with ear blasting results.

Songs are mapped out with the instinctive pairing of sinuous riffs and shimmering verses that frontman Thornley crowns with his gale force vocals.  Similarities to Chris Cornell can be detected both in Thornley’s vocal projection and his guitar skills.  Clearly, the man is no slouch.

In an album full of effortlessly epic songwriting and tasteful power, the biggest surprise is the sultry blues of Control – a high octane burst of expression that’s not heard often enough. It seems that Big Wreck will reclaim all their old fans and gain many new ones with this impressively forceful album.

–– Dean Gordon-Smith is a Vernon musician who writes weekly music reviews for The Morning Star.