BIG WRECK – Grace Street (2017)

BIG WRECK - Grace Street (2017) full

Canadian rockers BIG WRECK are getting ready to release their 5th studio album “Grace Street” on February 3rd. The band was created in the Nineties, disbanding in 2001 and reuniting in 2012 with three albums in a row since then. Despite of being a Juno Award-nominated band, honestly, I never heard about them. Until now.
Big Wreck is a fascinating band conducted by frontman and lead songwriter Ian Thornley’s tremendous guitar skills and powerful vocals, showing why he is one of rock’s most under-appreciated talents.
As Guitar Player Magazine proclaimed, ‘All of Canada is not big enough to contain Thornley’s talent.’

Big Wreck’s music is a little lesson in stretching rock’s boundaries with adventurous songwriting and a clever use of instrumentation. However, on “Grace Street” we found an organic sounding record at times channeling classic acts from hard rock’s history with progressive yet accessible arrangements combined with their own unique style.
“Grace Street” is an exhilarating and refreshing rock album, one that is already one of the year’s best.

The disc opens beautifully with Thornley’s shining voice over delayed guitars on ‘It Comes As No Surprise’. The counter-play with the barrage of heavy guitars and subdued chorus makes for a powerful album opener and leads in perfectly to the late Seventies AOR-FM radio single “One Good Piece of Me”, which is the group’s most commercial sounding track since their debut album. The track actually fits better within the album format than as a single.
The earlier part of the album is very rock guitar-oriented, highlighted with the melodic rocker “You Don’t Even Know”. The groove here is undeniable and you cannot help but hum this song after it’s done.

“Useless” is a gorgeous acoustic ballad, where Thornley does a great job on vocals over what sounds like a chorus of guitars.
One of the album’s most interesting tracks is the almost indescribable 7 and a half minute “A Speedy Recovery”. The drum beat here is killer and the bass line tremendous. The acoustic riff over this rhythm section could go on for days and not get boring while the break in the middle is another genius stroke of writing. Even the guitar solo here is unreasonably smooth.

Then there is the mid-tempo psuedo-ballad “Motionless”, another highlight. Once again the drums and bass create the backdrop for Thornley to present another great verse and chorus, with an emotive middle section that lifts the entire song.
From there the album returns to more rock driven material like the album’s second single “Digging In”, the Zeppelin-esque “The Receiving End”, the uplifting “Floodgates”, and the killer jam “Skybunk Marche”, another track unlike anything the band have recorded before.

BIG WRECK - Grace Street (2017) inside

“Grace Street” is an always intriguing, surprising, varied album that will appeal fans from all genres.
Big Wreck’s music is quite rocking, a bit progressive, commercial and catcthy, all in one package resulting in a delicious cocktail.
An album that refuses boundaries. Check it out, you will be glad you did.
Strongly Recommended

01 – It Comes As No Surprise
02 – One Good Piece Of Me
03 – Tomorrow Down
04 – You Don’t Even Know
05 – Useless
06 – A Speedy Recovery
07 – Motionless
08 – Digging In
09 – The Receiving End
10 – Floodgates
11 – The Arborist
12 – Skybunk Marche
13 – All My Fears On You

Ian Thornley – vocals, guitars, keyboards
Brian Doherty – guitars
Chuck Keeping – drums
Dave McMillan – bass

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