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If you aren’t familiar with Berkeley, California quartet the morning benders yet, chances are you’ll be hearing a lot about them in 2010. The band’s 2008 debut, Talking Through Tin Cans, was deemed the best indie/alternative album of that year by the all-knowing folks over at iTunes and the band recently signed with powerhouse indie label Rough Trade (part of the 4AD/Matador/XL family of imprints). the morning benders’ sophomore full-length, Big Echo, will be released on March 9th and was co-produced by Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear, who lends some eccentric touches and a certain crispness to the tracks.
Among Big Echo‘s ten tracks is “Promises,” a thick, satisfying slice of indie rock that feels plucked from 2002, recalling the finer moments of the Definite Article heyday (when The Shins and The Strokes and The Walkmen enjoyed a surprisingly large spotlight). While the morning benders may evoke this breed of band–and wouldn’t you know, they sport that curious the, too–their sound is more adventurous than most of their peers and more willing to saunter off on sixteen bar tangents. This lends a nice jocundity to “Promises” that is lacking in the music of their more dour-faced contemporaries. Vocalist Christopher Chu sounds like he’s having a lot of fun with this song because he probably is, and that blithe sensibility is contagiously borne through the airwaves. What’s more, “Promises” manages to remain taut even with its small bits of sidetracking, making it a temptingly re-listenable tune.