Big Wreck is currently preparing for the U.S. release of their first album since 2001. The record, entitled Albatross, is already out in Canada. It will be available in the states on February 19th. In Canada the band's return has been received well. The title track off of the album spent six weeks atop the Billboard Canadian Rock Chart in 2012
For those who are not familiar with the band, Big Wreck formed in 1994 and made their debut in 1997 with the double platinum selling album, In Loving Memory Of…. Unfortunately, the success was short lived as the group received little support from their label to market and promote 2001’s The Pleasure and the Greed. As a result, Big Wreck disbanded a year later and frontman, Ian Thornley, then went on to form his own project, Thornley.
Thornley’s first album, Come Again, was released in the spring of 2004 and spawned the hit singles “So Far So Good,” “Come Again,” and “Easy Comes.” But once again, Ian soon found himself having issues with labels and record executives; because of this, the band wasn’t able to release their sophomore effort, Tiny Pictures, until 2009. Though Tiny Pictures experienced a considerable of success in Canada, it was clear Ian was ready for a change. The reality was the singer had grown tired of playing in a band where there was so much pressure to have commercial success. And more importantly, Ian was adamant the pressure was having a detrimental effect on the quality of his music.
“Musically it could get frustrating because there were certain things I was omitting,” said Thornley when recently talking with Alternative Addiction. “I was sort of editing myself and compromising my ideas about music. On the first Thornley record, I tried to craft every song as though I was swinging for the fences and aiming for every track to be a massive radio hit. We trimmed all the fat, there weren’t too many big words, and there weren’t too many chords with numbers in them; it was just one of those kind of deals. But that didn’t really work out as planned and it turns out you’re just as broke as you were when you were doing all the lovely stuff you like to do. So it just took a long time to get back to making a record the way I like to.”
In 2010, Ian was able to re-connect with Big Wreck guitarist, Brian Doherty, and eventually the two began writing together again. As the two musicians created more and more music, the decision was soon made to put Big Wreck back together. Within less than a year, the group had developed an album’s worth of material. And while Thornley and Doherty may be the only original members still in the band, the frontman couldn’t be more excited about the new lineup and is proud of what the group was able to accomplish on Albatross.
“The record was a sheer joy to make. We didn’t have anyone leaning over our shoulder telling us what the kids want to hear these days or what’s going to get our songs on the radio. There was none of that at all so the music was free to do what the music wanted. Then it was just up to us to see how many tricks we had in our trick bag to get it there. We had a rough outline of what we wanted the album to feel like and how to get it to feel like that with certain sounds; we were just all on the same page and moving towards a common goal. So when a certain song or idea would come together, we’d all know what was right.”
Clearly much happier as a member of Big Wreck again, it appears Ian finally seems to be at peace making music his own way without the input or manipulation of upper management. And it’s difficult to argue with his methods; Big Wreck scored a #1 hit in “Albatross” and has recently been rebuilding their fanbase while out on tour with fellow Canadian rockers, Theory of a Deadman.
“The shows have been fantastic; there’s a rigor and a focus that wasn’t there in our younger years. From a personal perspective, I don’t think I’ve ever sang or played better. And I also don’t think I’ve ever played with a better group of guys musically…I had fallen in love with music when I was about five and then fallen in love with guitar when I was sixteen. And those beautiful moments you have with an instrument can really dig themselves into you and it all becomes a part of you. In those times, everything else just falls away; so when that happens and there’s an audience involved, there’s nothing better. For me, it’s that type of life altering good stuff that can’t be put into words. I know it sounds lofty, but it’s true.”
Following the New Year, Big Wreck plans to embark on a U.S. tour to promote Albatross. Details regarding shows will be announced in the near future.
Albatross has been available in Canada since March 6th; this past year, “Wolves” and “A Million Days” were selected as the follow-up singles to “Albatross” for Canadian radio.