The Morning Benders - Talking through Tin Cans
Record Label: +1 Records
Release Date: May 6, 2008
The Morning Benders are not your typical coffeehouse band, although there is something about their music that moves people to congregate around them and enjoy listening to TMB’s songs as much as the band seem to like playing their songs. The Morning Benders latest album Talking through Tin Cans is kiln in catchy dove-tailed riffs and clarion phrasings as the lead vocals of Chris Chu bears the brunt of the melodic compressions. The band’s music is a synthesis of country, folk, rock, and alt-pop, oftentimes blurring the lines that differentiate these genres. Produced by Chu and Patrick Brown, the band’s album opens audience’s minds to the possibilities that elements of country and folk can spruce up rock ledged melodies and make them into songs that can make people’s hearts beat a little easier.
Part of what makes The Morning Benders songs heartfelt are the lyrics which are all written by Chu. Sometimes Chu’s words wallow in sorrow like in “I Was Wrong” as Chu muses, “I’ve seen love kick a man while he’s down,” and then he raises a glass to his own woes, “Now I have no heart to ache.” The track “Wasted Time” is a modern country-pop blend that reinforces this sentiment visualizing in the lyrics “You’re a beast in a woman’s frame.” The intervals of whining guitar chords personify the sorrow shown in the words, and the country register soaks into the melody entrenching it in earthy chord textures. When the lyrics aren’t delving into the depths of sorrow, they are delivering words of hope like in the catchy folk-pop ditty “Patient Patient” when Chu implores, “Doctor, doctor won’t you give me the cure I’m after … All it takes is a little commitment / I’m a patient patient.”
The folksy saunter of the guitar played by Chu and Joe Ferrell crinkle softly through tracks like “Crosseyed” and “Loose Change” as the rhythmic swaying is mast by creases of inward reflections, while “Damnit Anna” is more pro-active craned by vocals that lunge and grab at the air with a rhythmic pumping that bolts and retracts. The melody is a cross between The Redwalls and Phantom Planet harnessing a catchy momentum and melodic phrasings. Guitarists Chu and Ferrell also play the piano and organs which staffs the recording with cuddly keyboard vamps like in the intro of “Waiting for a War.” As the keys are absorbed into the country register of the guitars and rattling rhythm section played by bassist David Perales and drummer Julian Harmon, the music produces a bumpy traction for the listener and like magic, the culmination of these factors make for a melody coasting along easy rhythmic strokes. The big guitar vibrations of “Chasing A Ghost” and the retro rock grooves of “Boarded Doors” flex the band’s rock muscles, and their ballad “When We’re Apart” and their semi-ballad “Heavy Hearts” indulge in the band’s craftsmanship for elegant arpeggios and willowy passages.
The country and folk shades in The Morning Benders songs are well pronounced, but it does not limit the band to country-folk temperatures. Their melodic beddings have an alt-pop tendency relatable to Ryan Adams and their sonic sketches can be addictive for all types of folks. The Morning Benders music comes from the heart and it aims right for yours.