Big Echo is, by no means, 2010's best album, but, as I listen to more music from this year, I'm starting to think that it is the year's most influential. Well, maybe it's not so much influential but more encompassing of the sound of what a significant portion of the newest indie rock has been creating.
The reverb that purveys the album is absolutely nothing revelatory, but, when coupled with the shambling percussion of Julian Harmon and the soaring vocals of Chris Chu, it creates a nice formula that is at the very least pleasant sounding. Chu is the clear focal point here, and his presence is welcome and uplifting. The way he stretches out his vowels on songs like "Excuses" and "Promises", sounds like he's smoothing them out as if his mouth was a sonic rolling pin. His tone is ethereal and spellbinding and his contribution is reason enough to give Big Echo your attention.
Musically, the band for the most part, is excellent. What keeps Big Echo from being a great album is that some tracks are regrettably just too forgettable. Songs like the sun-bleached "Excuses" and the R.E.M.-sounding "All Day All Light" are excellent uses of the band's aesthetic, but every now and then they get bogged down in adult-contemporary mediocrity. Regardless, Big Echo is a really good album and might be the only pioneering modern rock album your grandma will enjoy.