Dreamy tremolo waves, split harmonies and a sincere backbeat characterize music by the Morning Benders, a Berkeley band that’s been branded with the overused “indie” label.
Playing the Independent in San Francisco next week, the group’s sound better resonates with the likes of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson.
The group’s sophomore album “Big Echo” — recorded in San Francisco and co-produced by Chris Taylor, bassist of the Brooklyn band Grizzly Bear — creates a softly sustained world, riddled with breezy vocals from frontman Christopher Chu.
“With ‘Big Echo,’ we did have those 1950s-’60s melodies for sure, but the other side to it, which is really important, is its adversity. It brings together dark and light sounds — there are definitely the joyous songs — but also the melancholy,” Chu, 25, says.
The single “Promises” draws on themes such as trying to hang on to innocence; the album captures emotions somewhere between bliss and melancholy felt by those on the fringes of adulthood.
For Chu, the recording, which was inspired in part by producer Phil Spector’s famed wall of sound, represents the break he’s been waiting for; he and bandmates Julian Harmon, Tim Or and Jon Chu like to think of themselves as ambassadors of the California sound.
Recently on tour promoting the album and playing more shows than ever, the Morning Benders are enjoying the prospect of national attention.
Chu continues to remain confident and practical. He says, “It feels good now. I don’t really expect anything; I don’t really bank on anything. I just know I’m going to keep doing it no matter what.”
IF YOU GO
The Morning Benders
Where: The Independent, 628 Divisadero St., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday
Contact: (415) 771-1421, www.theindependentsf.com