Co-produced by Garth Richardson (Rage Against The Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers), the sonic diversity on Grace Street is indeed stunning. Heavy grooving tracks such as lead-off single “One Good Piece Of Me” and “Digging In” rub shoulders with the atmospheric “A Speedy Recovery” and the epic seven-minute instrumental “Skybunk Marché,” while other tracks feature added touches such as Miles Davis-style muted trumpet, wine glasses, a sample of a child’s heartbeat, and a Leslie speaker guitar solo recorded on a mountainside adjacent to Richardson’s B.C. studio.
But at the core of Grace Street are live off the floor performances by founding frontman Ian Thornley on guitar and keyboards, accompanied by drummer Chuck Keeping and bassist Dave McMillan. (The full Big Wreck line-up with additional guitarists Paulo Neta and Brian Doherty remains intact when the band hits the stage). For Thornley, it was imperative to maintain the human element in every aspect of the sessions, resulting in a trip he feels no previous Big Wreck album has taken a listener on before.
“Musically, I’m still searching for the stuff that turns me on and takes me somewhere,” he says. “You want to be brought to tears or have the hair on your neck stand up, and if the search for that takes you to new territory, then so be it. You have to follow. It’s like chasing a high, and Garth feels that just as much as we do.”
Big Wreck’s 1997 debut album, In Loving Memory Of…, produced three modern rock radio staples, “The Oaf,” “That Song” and “Blown Wide Open.” After a 10-year hiatus following their second album The Pleasure And The Greed, Big Wreck returned in 2012 with Albatross, which debuted in the Top 5 on the Canadian Album Chart and proved conclusively that the band remains as vital as ever.