The Morning Benders’ new records sounds like it could have been recorded on a lazy Sunday afternoon in your living room. It’s easy to imagine your musician friends dragging their amps and instruments into a small space and letting the music take over, as the simple earthy sounds of Talking Through Tin Cans belie a small quality to the music that allows for instant connection.
That small quality doesn’t mean The Morning Benders haven’t got the ability to throw down a barn-burning rocker or two, however, and this 2008 release doesn’t shy away from loud guitars at all. Guitarist and vocalist Chris Chu isn’t afraid to rattle your dishes or raid your fridge in his quest to put together a solid indie rock record.
After rearranging some furniture and finding enough wall outlets, it seems that Chu, guitarist Joe Ferrell, drummer Julian Harmon, and bassist Tim Or are about ready to play some music. This Bay Area band may look remarkably young and overly hopeful, but it’s the songs that truly stand out and give the boys a lovesick sort of appeal.
The first thing that’s captivating about Talking Through Tin Cans is the amount of care put into each melody. Constructed with what seems like a lethal combination of sunbeams, rainbows, and killer hooks, this is indie pop rock at its finest. The bouncy melodies are tough to resist, even if does seem that Chu’s jumping up and down on the sofa a little too much.
“Damnit Anna” introduces us to an almost folksy sound, as Chu channels parts of Dylan and early Beatles to formulate a hyper and healthy chunk of acoustica. After strumming rapidly through the first number, the texture of The Morning Benders sets in and the sound fills out more on tracks like “I Was Wrong” and the addictive “Patient Patient.”
There’s so much sway to this stuff that it feels as though all of the animals of the forest have now gathered to the living room window for a listen. The squirrel’s head-bobbing through the feverish jubilant energy of “Waiting for a War” doesn’t distract from the song’s hummable quality.
When Chu’s vocals on “Loose Change” chide someone to “just say what they mean,” we’re reminded he’s just a simple boy at heart. Great. I’m going to need more chairs…
Talking Through Tin Cans floats through a slew of carefree melodies with ease and before I know it, the boys are starting to pack up their instruments. Luckily I can still hum the songs from memory after only one listen.
As I wave goodbye to The Morning Benders and head out to my lawn chair, I’m reminded of the fun I had on Sunday afternoon and how a small band from the Bay Area had the ability to rattle my picture frames without breaking the glass.