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.