The Wall of Sound – Still Relevant?

Aaaaaand…… we’re off!

Minutes ago I finished typing the ‘about’ and ‘disclaimer’ sections of this blog, looking forward to get to what I hope the blog will be all about, – highlighting the brilliance of the Wall of Sound and why it still packs a punch today.

And I believe it still does that. You’d be surprised to know how many modern Wall of Sound soundalikes pop up each year if you keep a close eye on the music scene and know what you’re looking for. Collecting these is somewhat of a pet project of mine. I plan to feature some of my favorite modern soundalikes on the blog from time to time as a nice antidote to all the backwards-looking posts, I’ll undoubtedly write.

So,… what’s up with my obsession of modern Wall of Sound soundalikes?

Not only do I like the calculated retro-approach of these type of songs in a perverse sort of way, – young musicians with all the possibilities of modern technology at their hands, yet indulging in their fetish for recordings made under conditions that would seem like the stone age compared to today’s recording techniques.

I am also fascinated by the different approaches these musicians take in their songwriting when going for a Wall of Sound soundalike. The thing is,… Most go for dark, brooding songs with a sinister undertone that is actually quite far removed from the upbeat, castanets-propelled songs that make up the majority of Spector’s work. It’s probably a case of his notorioty and image as a mono madman creeping into their understanding of what the Spector sound is all about. And since it has spawned heaps of great tracks, I’m not complaining.

So to start off this blog, let’s sit back and enjoy a  fantastic live performance of the song ‘Excuses’ from indie-pop band the Morning Benders. The studio version on their 2010 ‘Big Echo’ album (appropriate title, huh?) is cool but this live version blows it out of the water. THIS folks, is how it should be done! Building up, slowly nearing a crescendo, each musician a part of the whole, a wheel in the giant clockwork that makes the Wall of Sound come alive in all it’s pulsating glory.

Morning benders1

I love this video as it so well highlights what I think may be the most beautiful trait of Phil Spector’s production philosophy, – getting the track on tape as a single take with everyone playing together. True, – it was somewhat borne out of necessity due to the few tracks he had at his disposal, but still… If anything, this superb video highlights what modern multitrack -and digital recording has made us lose since the 60s Spector heyday.

The Morning Benders – ‘Excuses’, Your Truly Session (2010)


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