Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Glasvegas - Glasvegas

This is the debut album by the Scottish nu-gaze outfit known as Glasvegas.. It's not the most imaginative of names, but it does the job. Released in 2008 on Columbia Records, it basically gave people something else to listen to which was influenced by the more Post-Punk artists rather than Britpop artists. Early Glasvegas demos clearly show an influence from 90's Britpop and early 2000's Indie Rock, but they found themselves a unique, noisy sound for this album.

Flowers & Football Tops is a track that gradually picks up, it's over 6 minutes long and it focuses on a story which relates to the death Kriss Donald, which is an interesting read if you have the time. The track sticks out as a thunderous Shoegaze track with great bass work and sound scapes.

Geraldine is the second track, which follows the You Are My Sunshine segment from the previous track. The simple guitar riff rips through the song, which is about a fan of the band named Geraldine who quit her job as a social worker, to sell merchandise at Glasvegas concerts. It was the lead single and acted as a strong live track for fans. It sounds very basic and the lyrics are very hard to understand due to James Allan's Scottish accent just taking control. Nevertheless, this is a strong song and has plenty of atmosphere and wall of sound to keep the listener interested, the final is just one long piece of atmosphere which leads into the 3rd track.

This is an album which flows really well, it's all about the atmosphere, the outro and intro between tracks 2 and 3 works extremely well. It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry has been my favorite Glasvegas song since i first heard the demo in 2006. I have been a long supporter of this band and i was glad they decided to incorporate a more full sound, however in open air concerts this sounds quite simply, dull. The track is very strong, a song about a broken relationship and jealousy. It's strong and has a great vocal effort, again the lyrics sometimes are hard to understand, one example is 'and how i think my misses is phoning every guy that she looks at' I'm 100% sure I'm not the only person who thinks he says fucking. It's a great song with a big finale, which ends in noise, which is eventually raised again just seconds later by track 4.

Again the flow is magnificent, with Lonesome Swan being a less heavier track with the drums and bass taking control, with guitars acting as atmosphere. The vocals are not great but it's a short and simple track. This leads into Go Square Go, which is another one of the bands early demos. A track which is heavy and fast paced compared to the previous few. The thumping drums and high noted bass lead this song. The breakdown is eventful and filled with reverb and atmospheric guitar drones. It's at this point where the listener chooses an opinion, good or bad? 

Polmont On My Mind starts the second half of the album, it's clear because the beginning is the only time you hear silence between songs. it's a song about a prison in Scotland, which isn't the most happy of subjects, but this is a dark album and Glasvegas are very dark. They hold the Black & White clothing which many 80's Post-Punkers took for style, the one band who you compare them with instantly is Echo & The Bunnymen. Beyond the cocky front man and energizing music, The Jesus & Mary Chain can really be heard, not forgetting the Spector influences which is a key ingredient for both Scottish bands.

Daddy's Gone is an awful song lyrically, i really cant stand the cheesy, disgraceful, childish, personal, Scottish lyrics. That aside it features the simple Be My Baby drumming and a great bass riff. The vocals are probably the best here, vocals are something the band could work on for future releases, but part of my personal enjoyment is singing in tongues along to Glasvegas songs. This is also one of the singles released from the album, it has basic structure with the intro, verse, chorus, breakdown then the kick to end the song. It does sound good and is a musical improvement from the initial fast paced demo which sounded terrible.

Stabbed is an interesting lyrical song over an instrumental of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. It's a nice break from the wall of sound with interesting lyrics. It's nothing special, but it plays its part on the album which is something S.A.D Light also has. This is a lighter track on the album, much slower with reverb used on just about everything. 

Ice Cream Van is the final track, it's one of the more atmospheric and beautiful tracks on the album. Again, it's covered in a mask of reverb and delay, not to say this is a bad thing. I like the vocal delivery and the organ which is used throughout the song. The eventual electric guitar comes in around the 2 minute mark which gets louder and louder, only adding to the atmosphere. I would say this is one of the strongest tracks on the album based on the last 2 minutes, which is magical to hear.

The production was carried out by Rich Costey, who isn't exactly known in the world of producers. It was also produced by James Allan from the band, something which was obviously his decision, he wanted the exact sound which the album has. It's unique and strong.

I wouldnt call Glasvegas a bad band, the drumming here is very simple and it's clear Caroline wasnt that skilled, she did take influence from Maureen Tucker from The Velvet Underground, as she stands up whilst performing. No skill is really heard, it's well practiced materail, but 75% are just well produced tracks from earlier demos. 


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