Albatross review by Big Wreck

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  • Released: Mar 6, 2012
  • Sound: 5
  • Lyrics: 3
  • Overall Impression: 5
  • Reviewer's score: 4.3 Poor
  • Users' score: 8.6 (54 votes)
Big Wreck: Albatross
0

Sound — 5
"Albatross" is the third studio album from the Canadian rock band Big Wreck. Big Wreck was traditionally a progressive rock group, and the band became most popular in Canada, where their debut album went double platinum. To my surprise, Big Wreck has had a history of major success. The band went on to tour with progressive metal band Dream Theater, and even had current Slash lead singer Myles Kennedy guest star on their second album. Unfortunately, Big Wreck was reduced to being a one-hit wonder, with their only major success being "The Oaf", the single off their debut album. In 2001, Big Wreck broke up, and nothing more was heard from this group.

But something about 2012 has all of those great bands from the past returning to the present and pushing out new music. Long time fans of the band, however, may be a little disappointed with this new album. Big Wreck seems to have forgotten their hard and progressive rock history, and instead enjoy playing and writing music that has been heavily influenced by today's pop rock. The album starts out with "Head Together", which immediately sets the pace and sound for the entire album. To me, this is an absolute pop song, meant to hit the radios and get attention from the pop loving youth. The distorted, palm muted guitar that will jump in and out of the song is almost dying to give the track and album a heavier sound to it, but vocalist Ian Thornley, in a way, seals the fate of this album's sound.

Ian's vocals are simply meant to thrive in pop music. His is like a clash between a Coldplay's singing techniques and a sound similar to that of 3 Doors Down. Other similar sounding songs include "Albatross", "A Million Days", "You Caught My Eye", and "All Is Fair". This album also contains a few surprises, such as "Rest Of The World", which contains heavily distorted guitar with screaming vocals, which unfortunately still cannot break away from that mainstream, pop sound. The entire album has a consistent sound, and this helps the album more or less flow easier. In the end, it just comes down to the type of music you enjoy listening to.

Lyrics — 3
As I mentioned above, Ian Thornley's vocals simply sound ideal for pop rock. However, on tracks such as "Rest Of The World", his screaming, high pitched voice clashes against a heavily distorted guitar, which renders the song nearly unlistenable. The lyrics for most of the songs seem very strange and unenjoyable. For example, the entire chorus "Head Together" is: "I neeeeeed to keep my head together. I don't neeeeeed to be nobody else." The song then transitions back into whispered vocals about "needing to shine my shoes" and heavily distorted guitar. This stays constant for nearly the entire album, which makes the experience that much harder to enjoy.

Overall Impression — 5
"Albatross" by Big Wreck is a very strange return for the former hard and progressive rock band. This album shows the band digging out their heavier, deeper roots and replacing them with the pop rock sound that is most popular today. This entire album sounds identical to anything I would hear if I tuned into any mainstream radio station today. I strongly feel that any classic, hard rock fan will have an incredibly difficult time tolerating the lyrics for the songs, let alone enjoying the music featured on this album. But if you enjoy listening to the pop music of today, you will absolutely have no problem enjoying this album.

30 comments sorted by best / new / date

    MrScary1971
    I urge people to go to another type of music format (Youtube, Amazon etc etc) and judge for yourselves. This review is simply awful and looks like opinions were formed from information on Wikipedia. This reviewer clearly never listened to Big Wreck or Ian Thornley's solo band for that matter. Coldplay's singers techniques? And please enlighten us to what "techniques" your referring too? Albatross is EXACTLY what any Big Wreck fan would expect to hear. It's one thing to dislike the release and you have that right but the correlations and assumptions you make are just way way off.
    icronic
    CinderellaFan14 wrote: That's why it's called a review. It's my opinion, not yours.
    Your opinion is fine and you're entitled to it, but along with that opinion you serve up a great deal of inaccurate and misleading information. As for my opinion? Probably one of the best Rock albums I've heard in years.
    SilverchairFan
    This review is garbage, the album is solid and full of great vocals, excellent rhythms, more hooks than you can count, and explosive guitars. Listen to the album for yourself and dont just go on this one review that is mediocre at best
    Ibeanez
    So far, favorite bands of people leaving negative comments are: Nickelback, Linkin Park, Warrant, Poison, Cinderella...
    froggie13
    Blown Wide Open was actually as big or bigger than The Oaf.& so was That Song..... I mean, holy crap, this guy thinks Ian sings like the goof in Coldplay? That's just dumb. The guitar tracks also do not remind anyone of "pop" music as we know it today. No one cares what these little hipsters thinks about real music, anyway. They like stuff performed by electronics, not people.Ian stays true to his gifts, and that's more important than anything anyone says about his work. And his fans know it.
    furburger
    i totally disagree with alot of this review, but opinions are like *****s, everyones got one lol. big wreck is quite possibly one of the most overlooked and underrated bands ive ever listened to. ian thornley is easily one of the best guitarists around and ive seen them live enough to believe it. also, his voice isnt like cornells, and its not even close to that douche from coldplay.
    Circo Devida
    @ Ibeanez.....that would be because this review in itself is poor and shallow. At least there was no mention of a Nickelback connection or a Cornell comparison, which I will give props to the writer for. Here is another review, and if you still feel the same afterwards, I understand. But give the album more than one listen, because its a grower, even with us BW fans. I have read plenty of reviews that said how unimpressed they were after the first listen but after a few more listens, they were hooked...myself included. http://www.thornleyfans.blogspot.com/201... batross-track-by-track.html
    froggie13
    This review in its self is a very poor and shallow one. I realize that everyone is entitled to their own opinion yes, but not if it seems that one has not give the record a fair shake, you can't just listen to it once and expect something that is what you want to hear. Ian Thornley has an intense relationship with his music, & his results are always brilliant and beautiful no matter what he does. Ian is easily one of the most gifted and underrated musicians that I have ever had the pleasure of listening to and meeting. It angers me to think that people are so quick to judge a record and think that it should sound like the Big Wreck of 11 yrs ago, things change and that is what Ian is about keeping things on the interesting. HERE IS A STRAIGHT UP REVIEW FOR YOU!!!! AND I AGREE!!! This is from the Toronto Sun/Entertainment. "Some guys will sell their souls for a second shot. Ian Thornley doesnt seem like one of them. The singer-guitarists first Big Wreck album in a decade isnt some last-ditch grab for a brass ring. Its simply Thornley (and guitarist Brian Doherty) doing what BW does: Deliver darkly majestic blues-rock epics topped with serious guitar chops and Ians tull-throated, raspy wail. Like it or not." 278 + 867 members between two Facebook groups would disagree with your review, just saying!!
    CinderellaFan14
    SilverchairFan wrote: This review is garbage, the album is solid and full of great vocals, excellent rhythms, more hooks than you can count, and explosive guitars. Listen to the album for yourself and dont just go on this one review that is mediocre at best
    That's why it's called a review. It's my opinion, not yours.
    N-D
    "Rest Of The World" and also "A Million Days" is good songs.
    rockerwannabe
    I had no idea this cd came out!!! I am stoked regardless of this review. For folk who don't know these guys, they're great. And for when they were broken up, Ian Thornley released one great cd and one not as great cd. CHECK THESE GUYS OUT!!!! I am running out to buy this cd now!!!!
    SilverchairFan
    CinderellaFan14 wrote: SilverchairFan wrote: This review is garbage, the album is solid and full of great vocals, excellent rhythms, more hooks than you can count, and explosive guitars. Listen to the album for yourself and dont just go on this one review that is mediocre at best That's why it's called a review. It's my opinion, not yours.
    Reviews should be written by qualified people, nuff said
    Ibeanez
    I've been wondering what happened to this band, but never bothered to check. Their album "In Loving Memory Of..." with "The Oaf" on it is extremely well written and played for that genre. Not for those with short attention spans. Too bad this review doesn't make me want to check the new album out.
    Andragon
    For the first time in forever, I enjoy a song when I hear it in the car. That Albatross track is solid.
    miseryhead
    For the life of me i could never understand how Big Wreck came to be associated with prog-rock... On the All Music review of In Loving Memory Of they say they are "similar to such post-alternative, heavy neo-prog acts as Dream Theater". What the hell are you listening to?! Is it just because they toured with Dram Theater? And i remember that the review there of The Pleasure and The Greed said they sounded like Korn and Filter AHAHAHHAHA They've replaced that review, and i hope it was because someone actually listened to the album after reading that review and realised how ****ing ridiculous it was! This review is also kinda bad because anyone who knows the band can totally tell the reviewer didn't really pay attention to the album nor did he know the band before. What the hell is wrong with some songs being in the pop-rock spectrum? They've always had great hooks and melodies. Does Under The Lighthouse or Head in The Girl sound hard-rock or prog to you? That's what the fans of the band like about them; they mix all these influences (Ian has cited stuff as different as Led Zeppelin, Supertramp, Bruce Cockburn, Bruce Springsteen or Sonny Landreth as influences in his music and playing) and they do it with tons of layers, great melodies, awesome guitar tones, amazing singing and a little banjo and slide guitar.
    ReoFendel
    This reviewer obviously has his inflated head on a pedestal higher than any would dare place it. I'm a proggy, & have an immense appreciation for the genuine talent of Ian who knows that it is a well crafted tune that deserves recognition, rather than a random hodge podge of useless heady notes designed to impress the esoteric self fulfilling mindset. My band had the privilege of opening up for Dream Theater back in 1993 & we ALL were humble & can recognize true talent when we hear it. Ian has it!
    sleighml
    Wow. I don't think I have ever disagreed more with a review. I undestand that everyone has their own opinions but saying that this album is what you would hear on main stream radio? I'm sorry, when was the last time anyone heared slide guitar on the radio in a song by a current band? Any Ian Thornley/BW fan will tell you that Ian's albums always take more than one listen to catch all of the nuances and jems hidden in each song. His music and guitar playing is so layered. His music has substance. Isn't that what we want from albums? I have had In Loving Memory Of for almost 15 years and every time I listen to it, I head something more that I like. Or, I supposed, some poeple want easily digestable crap that only requires one listen. While you may not like a band, someone reviewing should at least recognize talent and quality when they hear it.
    etherington1878
    WTF? What a load of S#@T. It's like you're being paid to BS the public, that review is terrible. Hey we all make mistakes, have an off day, etc..just be a big enough man to admit it and retract that abortion. Big Wreck came out with one of the best albums of that period and a lot of us have been waiting for them to follow it up with something worthy. Well here it is, this album rocks. Thank god they're back. PS - In Loving Memory had a slew of hits, just because they didn't chart in the US, there's a big world out here that actually know something about music. You keep your Beyonce and Usher, I'll take the Hip and Big Wreck any day.
    mdhowes
    Absolutely agree ether. This is a real break from the mundane bullshit that proliferates on just about every radio station on the planet. Ian's voice lends wonderfully to this most welcomed new effort from a most underrated band...
    hbdg
    Where to start with such a poor and off base review without personally attacking the reviewer? First to categorize Big Wreck as alternative/progressive when if you must label/categorize, they are really a hard rock band. They don't sound anything like Dream Theatre or progressive rock bands. The Oaf was a moderate fm hit in the US but other songs received airplay.The Pleasure and the Greed, their seconds album was poorly marketed and the band also suffered from poor management. I never heard of it until searching on the internet wondering if they had ever recorded anything after In Loving Memory. Happily downloaded all songs some of which were Thornley which seemed heavier and less melodic. Albatross to me is a return to great guitar oriented rock. There is a variety of songs/sounds that just sound better the more you listen. I can't stand pop music and this isn't even close to what is played on the radio which is too bad for radio's sake. The comments I've read are by "older" fans who miss rock music that actually had talent instead of machines and marketing behind it not pop loving radio youth. Coldplay-sorry different genre, 3 Doors Down-guitar oriented rock only similarity. Ian's vocals pop?- if you mean the guy can actually sing and throw in some passionate screaming to compliment and enhance the music especially when its harder and louder. Check out the videos that are of performances and not prerecorded and ask how many pop singers would/could without machines or lip synching. Head Together, Albatross, A Million Days, You Caught My Eye, Rest of the World, All is Fair similar sounding?- not in my book unless your saying they are songs that will repeat in your head and show a diverse sound of guitar rock. Rest of the World unlistenable?-sorry its one of my favorites and keeps growing on me especially the lyrics. Which takes us to the next point lyrics. You obviously don't have the depth or life experiences to grasp what is being said. If you are old enough to have experienced loss, hearthache, or lack of control over your own life you might start to comprehend. Sorry its not for the pop loving youth with no soul or blues experience. Your strange return is to me a maturing sound that is focused on his/their current life experiences without selling out, going commercial, or going soft. Sorry but this album really rocks in the best sense. Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin once said in an interview that he didn't sing some of the old stuff because he was in his 20's when he wrote it and it seemed awkward to sing about sex in his 60's with a twenty year old's lyrics. I like Big Wreck because they don't sound like anything on the radio or any place else. Wish they would/could get played on the radio because most people are missing a great band. Reminds me of UFO while they still had Schenker. Some great bands aren't singles oriented and
    CinderellaFan14
    SilverchairFan wrote: froggie13 wrote: Blown Wide Open was actually as big or bigger than The Oaf.& so was That Song..... I mean, holy crap, this guy thinks Ian sings like the goof in Coldplay? That's just dumb. The guitar tracks also do not remind anyone of "pop" music as we know it today. No one cares what these little hipsters thinks about real music, anyway. They like stuff performed by electronics, not people.Ian stays true to his gifts, and that's more important than anything anyone says about his work. And his fans know it. Fuck, THANK YOU! That was my point, as well. Of anyone who couldve had a review of this album posted, they picked that jerk off.
    So anyone who says something contrary to your opinion is a "jerk". Nice.
    SilverchairFan
    froggie13 wrote: Blown Wide Open was actually as big or bigger than The Oaf.& so was That Song..... I mean, holy crap, this guy thinks Ian sings like the goof in Coldplay? That's just dumb. The guitar tracks also do not remind anyone of "pop" music as we know it today. No one cares what these little hipsters thinks about real music, anyway. They like stuff performed by electronics, not people.Ian stays true to his gifts, and that's more important than anything anyone says about his work. And his fans know it.
    Fuck, THANK YOU! That was my point, as well. Of anyone who couldve had a review of this album posted, they picked that jerk off.
    SilverchairFan
    CinderellaFan14 wrote: SilverchairFan wrote: froggie13 wrote: Blown Wide Open was actually as big or bigger than The Oaf.& so was That Song..... I mean, holy crap, this guy thinks Ian sings like the goof in Coldplay? That's just dumb. The guitar tracks also do not remind anyone of "pop" music as we know it today. No one cares what these little hipsters thinks about real music, anyway. They like stuff performed by electronics, not people.Ian stays true to his gifts, and that's more important than anything anyone says about his work. And his fans know it. Fuck, THANK YOU! That was my point, as well. Of anyone who couldve had a review of this album posted, they picked that jerk off. So anyone who says something contrary to your opinion is a "jerk". Nice.
    Actually I said he is a jerk off, and he can have a different opinion because everyone is entitled to their own. Just have some ACTUAL evidence to back up why you fell that way, not the lame and weak reasons he has