The inspiration and direction of The Morning Benders’ sophomore effort are made clear within the first few seconds of opener ‘Excuses’. First you hear the crackle of a vinyl record player, then a burst of ‘Pet Sounds’-esque orchestration, before finally a wave of surf guitars and a sun kissed chorus. Unashamed in its aping of The Beatles’ and The Beach Boys’ back catalogues, ‘Big Echo’ is a reasonable record to listen to (far more reasonable than the band’s name suggests), but sadly it does nothing new or interesting and just ends up as a collection of pastiches. It’s actually as if the San Francisco four-piece have been commissioned to write some sound-a-like tracks for a film about Venice Beach in 1964. Every band has its influences, but all are fearful of crossing the line from homage into plagiarism, a line Morning Benders have decided to ignore.

By Tom Goodwyn

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