The Morning Benders arrived on the indie pop-rock scene in 2006, when singer/guitarist Chris Chu released Loose Change, a solo collection of low-fi, high-spirited recordings made with one microphone and a laptop. By the time 2007's Boarded Doors EP was released, Chu had recruited three UC-Berkeley classmates and created a Bay Area band with a serious buzz that exploded exponentially with last year's full-length debut, Talking Through Tin Cans, which won iTunes' "Best Indie/Alternative Album of 2008" award. It'd be flat-out wrong to label the Morning Benders' endearing brand of lost-love lament "emo," but Chu and company take stereotypical early-era Beatles boy-meets-girl themes and attitudes to the limit with their pleasing California garage rock. Side one of Cans is enjoyable pop through and through, but side two, with its depth of reverb, spookiness and penetrating lyrics, is impressive on many levels, as are the Morning Benders' energetic live shows.
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