Thursday, November 20, 2008

Review: Glasvegas - Glasvegas (* * * *)

Scottish music industry mogul Alan McGee swears Glasvegas are the next big thing. He might know a thing or two about that, having discovered and worked with a plethora of successful U.K. musicians, most notably Oasis. Since forming in 2001, the band have only released one full-length album, this, their self-titled debut which was released this summer overseas and on iTunes in the U.S. with a physical release coming over here in January. The four-piece from Scotland have already reached superstar status back home with both fans and critics.

Glasvegas sounds something like the collaborative effort of The Jesus And Mary Chain and pop stars of the 50s and 60s. With their wall of guitars and drums lifting singer James Allen's thickly accented vocals to epic heights, the band create some stunning moments throughout the record's ten tracks. The opener "Flowers And Football Tops" features some old-school "whoa-whoaaaas" behind Allen's plaintive lyrics before the song ends in a blanket of fuzzy guitars while the words to "You Are My Sunshine" are delicately sung. It's an absolutely stellar song followed by the equally impressive "Geraldine," a song by a social worker promising to be "the angel on your shoulder." Other highlights include the anthematic rocker "Go Square Go" and the drum-heavy, miss-you ballad "S.A.D. Light"

Occasionally, Allen's open and honest lyrics come across as a bit simplistic or childish, as on "It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry" where he wails "liar, liar, liar, liar, liar pants on fire!" or the I-hate-you-for-leaving-us-dad downer "Daddy's Gone." By the same token, it's Glasvegas' all-out and honest approach to their music and lyrics that makes the group so exciting and memorable. It's a record only their collective genius could have produced, with plenty of gripping moments like the creepy, quiet recounting of "Stabbed," the story of a man running from a group of thugs over Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata;" a weird, yet compelling experience.

Perhaps more exciting than Glasvegas' successful and impressive debut is their obvious potential. It's a rare thing for a band to achieve this much critical AND popular success so soon, and this should open doors for them to continue making progressive, vital rock records for years to come. They've set the bar high for themselves, but I have a feeling they won't disappoint.

Favorite Tracks: "Flowers And Football Tops," "Geraldine" "S.A.D. Light"