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Big Wreck: Albatross

Boston rockers vindicate their recent reunion.

Splitting after 2001’s damp-squib The Pleasure And The Greed, the prospect of a comeback album of mothballed material from the reunited Big Wreck is hardly tantalising.

As it turns out, Albatross is a step up, sailing closer to the crunch and proggy intelligence of their 1997 debut, with songs that manage to be both smart and visceral. Vocalist Ian Thornley reckons he’s trading in “beer-chugging rock anthems”, but he’s selling himself short.

Head Together combines its chunky riffage with monastic chants, A Million Days offers Kashmir spices and a virtuoso shred solo, Wolves has shades of a hairier-chested Elbow, while standout All Is Fair swirls with echo-chamber U2 guitars. In short, it’s far more than Big Dumb Rock – even if that’s the impression given by Thornley’s earnest vocals.

The world shrugged when Big Wreck derailed, but it’s good to have them back.

Henry Yates has been a freelance journalist since 2002 and written about music for titles including The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Classic Rock, Guitarist, Total Guitar and Metal Hammer. He is the author of Walter Trout's official biography, Rescued From Reality, a music pundit on Times Radio and BBC TV, and an interviewer who has spoken to Brian May, Jimmy Page, Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie Wood, Dave Grohl, Marilyn Manson, Kiefer Sutherland and many more.