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Home » Albums in Review, Music, Rock n Rolla

Big Wreck celebrates 20th with 4th album “Ghosts”

Submitted by on October 1, 2014 – 9:41 pm4 Comments

big-wreckFormed by Ian Thornley back in 1994, the band known as Big wreck is now celebrating 20 years since its inception. Though they haven’t always been together throughout those two decades, they’ve stood the test of time and still have a strong fan base.

Not only that, but this new record proves simply that Big Wreck is here to stay, and though the new record is titled Ghosts, Thornley and the gang are very much alive. And just months after the summer release, Thornley is feeling good about its general reception.

“It’s been well received, my friends dig it,” said Thornley over the phone. “I’m not sure about the numbers or anything, I try not to pay too much attention to that. I’m still happy with it, it’s not like the honeymoon’s over for me.”

They’re excited to get on tour for the new album after after a quiet summer – which isn’t always a bad thing.

“We played a couple of festival shows over the summer, but we were gearing up for the tour that was starting in mid September.” The band has 18 shows lined up in October alone, including a Toronto stop on Oct. 16 & 17 at Danforth Music Hall for a couple nights. “I’m a tour junkie. If I’m not in the studio, I want to be on the road. There’s a beauty to the rhythm of playing every night.”

Since the release of Albatross back in 2012 – for which they did a fair bit of touring Thornley recalls, with Theory of a Deadman and Mötley Crüe – the guys have been busy writing and recording once again for the new album. That was their first record in nearly 11 years, since The Pleasure and the Greed came out in 2001.big-wreck-video-ghostsThe band broke up in late 2002 due to poor sales and marketing of that album, and that’s when Thornley decided to move back to Toronto, his hometown, and create his own group aptly named Thornley. But since Big Wreck’s return, things have been a slow and steady climb to return to the famed days of their first record In Loving Memory Of…

“The nature of the beast these days in the industry, is that things are moving even quicker. So if you take a break for even a few months, you’re yesterday’s news.” said Thornley about the break during his solo career. “We’re blessed to have anybody remember anything about Big Wreck.”

As Thornley puts it, he’s fine with the slower pace this time around, stating that he was never truly comfortable with the overnight success of their first album, and the heavy demand for Big Wreck in those days. “I mean sure the perks were nice…” laughs Thornley.

The new album starts of a little slow, with a two minute long guitar intro, which really could’ve been done without since it adds nothing of value to the album’s beginning. But once you get passed that, the album is pure unadulterated rock and roll.

The first track “A Place to Call Home,” is weighed down by that guitar intro, but after that dissipates it kicks right in with some power chord driven alt-rock and Thornley’s signature vocals.BW-130bradThe second track is where the album really starts, “I Digress,” is a pure grunge tune that enters hard and fast and gets your head nodding from the beginning. From here on the album is a pleasure to listen through.

“It’s all just stuff that I like, really,” said Thornley modestly about the song writing on Ghosts. “It all just sounds like Big Wreck, just good rock and roll. I like variety, and I think if a band can do it well, then that is art, that’s what we do here.”

What I like to call the “second half” for Big Wreck since their reunion in 2010, has presented a much more mature and redefined group of musicians. During their time apart and doing solo work, they clearly gained a much broader perspective of the music and brought it home on this new album.

The title track “Ghost” is my personal favourite. It has a catchy funk style guitar intro with soft spoke vocals from Thornley. A catchy drum beat and a well filled out aura created by layering the instrumentals creates a true auditory experience. Not to mention it’s backed by some funky-fresh bass walks throughout the composition.

“When somebody suggested that Ghosts be the first single, I was like woahhh,” said Thornley. “Glad to hear that’s your favourite, I can’t pick a favourite I like them all. Every time I listen to the album, a new song pops out at me.”

The three following tracks “My Life,” “Hey Mama,” and “Diamonds,” all have completely unique vibes from each other. The second last track “Come What May” is probably the heaviest song on the record – a necessary recovery after the love ballad that precedes it “Off and Running.”

The album as a whole has a great way of providing a wide range of imagery and moods that makes play through from first to last track and varied listening round-trip.

Story by Devin Size


  • Me says:

    Again, because it appears to have been deleted….. Anyone who uses the term “grunge” to describe a Big Wreck song or album is musically illiterate. Or, do the Martyr editors just delete comments if they don’t like being contradicted?

  • No one deleted your comment, not sure what you mean. They’re an alt-rock band from the 90s, and “grunge” is a term to describe rough around the edges rock from that era, specifically alt-rock, and they definitely fit that criteria. No musical illiteracy here my friend, but perhaps you take genre classification a little too seriously. I don’t think Big Wreck is too far from the likes of Sound Garden or Pearl Jam, and that’s hardly a bad category to be in. Relax and enjoy the music my friend.

  • nopeeking71 says:

    There’s nothing really grunge about Ghosts, except maybe the intro of “A Place To Call Home”….lol

    I agree that musical categories can be broad and sweeping, but Big Wreck seems to owe more to the Police, Fleetwood Mac, Marc Knopfler, and has much more “polish and refinement” than any grunge band.

    But as the magazine editor points out, the number 1 priority is to relax and enjoy the music 🙂

  • Exactly, it’s very subjective to each listener’s perspective as well, that’s why there’s no official music “authority,” it’s all opinions and mildly cohesive facts when it comes to genres. I personally would never consider Dire Straits and Big Wreck under the same musical umbrella, but if you do, awesome, because they both play great music for the ages, and it’s all for the people, by the people.

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