Canadian-American neo-prog hard rock outfit Big Wreck were formed by Ian Thornley (vocals, guitar), Brian Doherty (guitar), Dave Henning (bass), and Forrest Williams (drums). The quartet members met in the early '90s when they were studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Eventually, the four spent more time jamming together than attending class, and they soon decided to leave school to form Big Wreck. The group became a fixture around Boston and Cambridge, regularly playing local stages. After spending several years rehearsing and playing concerts, Big Wreck landed a contract with Atlantic Records in 1997. Their debut album, In Loving Memory Of..., was released in the fall of that year. Their sophomore effort, The Pleasure & the Greed, arrived in 2001, but after its poor commercial showing, the band broke up. Ian Thornley formed a new band, simply called Thornley, but after reconnecting with Big Wreck guitarist Doherty some ten years later, he took his band, along with Doherty, into the studio and recorded Albatross, which appeared in 2012 under the Big Wreck name. The slightly more prog rock-sounding Ghosts arrived in 2014, and was nominated for Rock Album of the Year at the Juno Awards the following year. In late 2016 Big Wreck issued the single "One Good Piece of Me" in anticipation of the release of their fifth studio long-player, Grace Street, which arrived in February 2017. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released January 1, 2014 | New Rounder
Canadian grunge rockers Big Wreck broke up after the 2001 album The Pleasure and the Greed, with lead singer and guitarist Ian Thornley forming his own Thornley namesake band and continuing his solo career. A rekindled friendship between Thornley and Big Wreck guitarist Brian Doherty led to Doherty joining the Thornley band, which in turn became the second coming of Big Wreck when everyone concerned went into the studio and recorded 2012's Albatross, which didn't so much change the group's original 1990s Soundgarden-like sound as much as restate it. This second album with the new lineup doesn't bump things too far off that original sound, either, although it does expand things a bit in a slightly more prog rock direction, with some acoustic-based tracks tossed in as well. Grungy fuzz guitars lead off the sprawling, nearly eight-minute-long opener, "A Place to Call Home," and since the album ends with a short one-minute acoustic and harmony vocal-laden reprise of the song, it's tempting to expect a prog rock-like concept album here, but that's not the case, really, although the 12 songs and the reprise do flow nicely together over a big sonic palette. Big Wreck still sound a bit like a Canadian Soundgarden, are still heavily influenced by Led Zeppelin, and could still be mistaken for Coldplay's northern brother on the radio, but there are some new sonic wrinkles here, too. "Ghosts" and "Come What May" both sound a little bit like early Police, while "Break" and "War Baby" suggest Bono and U2's big-themed stadium anthems. "Hey Mama," one of the best tracks here, has that acoustic/electric Eastern drone feel that Led Zeppelin were so good at decades ago. But overall, Big Wreck haven't messed around with that classic 1990s grunge approach too much here, which may or may not prove to be a good commercial decision going forward. But they do it pretty well, whatever the outcome, and with a lineup of three fine guitarists, there's little doubt that this is a rock band whose members know how to rattle the walls and cell doors as long as they don't paint themselves into a predictable, generic corner. ~ Steve Leggett
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