Release Date: February 3, 2017
There was a time when I would have called Big Wreck a third wave Alt Rock band, but my how the years have shaped them. The Canadian-American group formally broke up in the early 00’s but reunited in 2010 and have since released a string of powerful and wildly creative Rock albums. Their latest, Grace Street, is part Police influenced goodness and part 70’s Queen through a modern filter.
Grace Street kicks things off with an odd choice in “It Comes As No Surprise.” It’s Queen influence is extremely pronounced with dynamic time changes, soaring vocals, and giant background harmonies that take over the song when they arrive. It’s an amazing piece of music, but it it’s not quite the smooth introduction you are expecting. “A Speedy Recovery” is another interesting piece here with a fast-paced, rhythmic undercurrent seemingly at odds with the soaring vocals. Its mid-song island flare is welcome, as is how the band keeps so tight despite the individual parts being so different. The album’s closer, “All My Fears On You” is an explorative piece that reminds me a lot of the Police’s deep cuts. It’s got an ambient, mildly dark, overall sound to it that reminds me of the best of the eighties, but it also has a big chorus that reminds me of Genesis’ and Yes’ more straightforward moments. The intimate “Useless” is another powerful moment, providing ample evidence that the band can keep it simple and still move you.
My personal favorite track here is “One Good Piece of Me.” This is certainly a contender for Song of the Year. Ian Thornley’s voice is like hearing Peter Gabriel, or Sting, play in a Rock band. His voice just shines in a way that forces you to pay attention to it. Then the big guitar riff kicks in and the band goes from atmospheric to anthemic (big, hooky chorus and all) flawlessly. It’s everything music fans love in a Rock song. Such a great song!
I really and truly dig this album. I haven’t been paying much attention since the band reunited but Grace Street has changed all that. If you like any of the band’s mentioned in this review or if you enjoy Pop and Rock that is dynamic and thoughtful and creative then you should check out Grace Street too.
Reviewed by mark1340