Friday, July 09, 2010

FDF Volume 2 Issue 191 - Big Wreck - In Loving Memory Of...

By: March

Album - In Loving Memory of...
Artist - Big Wreck
Key Players - Forrest Williams - drums. Brian Doherty - guitar. David Henning - bass. Ian Thornley - lead guitar, vocals, mando guitar, keyboards.
Produced By - Matt DeMatteo and Big Wreck

Release Date - October 7, 1997

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I am not really sure. As I fast forward to doing 200 of these (with no bands repeated) you'd think there would be "tons" to still do. I loved the single(s) off this record and it really had been a very long time since I had played it front to back.

Overview - Formed in Boston in the mid 1990's the four members were all friends and students from Berklee College of Music. The band would gig out extensively in the area and in 1997 would release their major label debut. The album would go on to sell very well in the states, and even better in Canada where singer Ian Thornley was from. The band would release a second album in 2001, but would disband in 2002.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - "The Oaf" begins with a slightly delayed choppy guitar before the whole band comes in. The band has a full sound with each instrument prominent in the mix. Hennings bass can be heard cutting across the bottom as Doherty and Thornley strike the guitar chords. Williams keeps a fine back beat, but keeping in check. The band works in some harmonies on the chorus. The same looped guitar that was at the intro gets a second, lengthy run through about the 3 minute mark and the band does the big final run of chorus before the song ends. The "big" single from the record (at least in the States) is next in the form of "That Song". Opening with hard driving drums and some big guitars. Williams hits the drums with authority, but they are not flashy. Thornley really stretches vocally, soaring over the swooping guitars. It is about as catchy, sing-alongy as you can get for a harder rocking tune. They work with a false ending before throwing out the big hooks again. A great "lost" track. "Look What I Found" has a lap guitar sound to open before the track gets underway. Thornley is more relaxed vocally at the start with a much more baritone howl to his voice. After the verse, they hit a part that is not really a chorus, but the guitars and bass get "bigger". I'd like to know the effect used on Hennings bass as it mixes a real punch, with a ring. It stands out quite clearly at times. The band runs some acoustic guitars in the over dubs. The band works a series of different guitar solos and various sections which showcases some of their talents. The slide guitar returns for another little bit to close out the song. A slow drum roll starts off the first "mellow" song on the record "Blown Wide Open". This track was also released as a single and does show a different side to the band. Thornley has a strong voice and it is what you'd expect for that mid tempo, not quite ballad track from a harder rock band. Its a longer track and the band does mix it up tempo wise, but it keeps pretty tame until the big guitar build up at the end. Thornley gives it his all for the climactic ending. Guitars get some unique effects at the start of "How Would You Know". It sounds like they are working to get in tune just as much as get the song going. The drums are laid back, but the guitars run some bigger riffs and the bass is more up in the mix. The song is not overly complex, but has a good vibe to it. Acoustic guitars and drum brushes are the norm on "Oh My". Another semi ballad, but more with the tastes of the quieter musical interludes, but it perks up repeatedly during the song. "Under the Lighthouse" was released as a single in Canada and it would crack the top 20, peaking at #12. The slide and acoustic guitars are the norm on this. The band is showing their softer side once more. There are layers of keyboards that are noticeable for the first time on the record. The driving rock comes back on "Fall Through the Cracks". The guitars and drums fire off one another and the big stadium rock sound comes. The vocals once more are soaring and the guitars feel like they are working overtime (as are the bass and drums mind you). "Waste" begins with a lone guitar before the second comes over and the drums and bass then join. The band is settled back in to a more mid-tempo track again. The album is a pretty steady mix, trying to showcase. They work to change tempos and complexity of their songs and once again, they have succeeded in mashing tempos with some strong musicianship. Acoustic guitars chime bright at the start of "By The Way". Thornley is channeling Chris Cornell on this track with some operatic range. This is really a song for him as the music is much more laid back. The buzzy guitar comes back on "Between You and I". The hi-hat on the drums clack together and as the verse starts everyone sits back, but comes back up full after a few bars. As the verses end and heading to the chorus the guitars get big once more, and in the chorus they wait, but are equally as booming. "Prayer" is the first track to start out right away with lyrics. A lone guitar plays along with Thornley as the track grows. After a bit the second guitar comes in and the song gets a bit heavier and more rocking, but it keeps that steady feel. The album closes with "Overemphasizing". The ride cymbal is struck a steady beat as the vocals and guitar begin to build. The guitars get buzzier and then we get the big rock sound that has been found on the record. Its a decent closing track.

Where are they now?
Thornley returned to Canada and continues to write and perform (see links). Doherty teaches guitar in his community. Henning was rumored to be is the touring bass player for Slash (of Guns and Roses) band in early 2010, but the that rumor was put to rest within a few weeks there was some additional info on their wiki page.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I never saw the band live.

FDF Overall Take - When I listen to stuff like "That Song" it does sound similar to a band I can't effing stand (Creed). There is just something about this band that is so much more appealing. It feels a little campy, a little played out some 12+ years later but this band did have some talent and I don't feel like I need to tear my ears off as if I were listening to Nickleback or Creed. If straight up rock and roll is your thing, check out this disc.

There is no Big Wreck myspace page but you can see pages for Thornley and his myspace page.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Considering I have gotten two cease and desist orders for the same blog post (System of a Down, which I removed when asked) I am hesitant to post samples. So, here is a you tube clip of the bad doing "That Song" here.

The record is out of print, but you can get it for cheap here.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 3:35 PM, Anonymous matt said...

I saw these guys live on the tour for this album. The local club owner wouldn't take no for an answer when she asked me if I was coming out to the show. BW were INCREDIBLE. They lost me with their second album, but I always wanted to see them live again. Some time before they cracked up, BW played some shows with Eric Johnson (i.e. the band actually playing/jamming with Eric for several full shows in Canada). I know there are some bootlegs (probably poor quality) that circulate, and it's still on my list to get my hands on one of them.

This first album still holds up really well.

At 5:13 PM, Blogger DigMeOut said...

Listen to a review of Big Wreck's In Loving Memory Of on the Dig Me Out Podcast at DMO is a weekly podcast dedicated to digging up lost College Rock, Alt Rock, Indie Rock and Hard Rock of the 1990s, one album at a time.


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