Levy - Glorious
Jay Mansfield 06/10/2007
A (perhaps) wise individual (though it could well have been a borderline sociopathic internet persona) once noted that being average at what you do is far worse than being bad at it. While this doesn't necessarily stand up to close scrutiny (let's face it, would be you rather be operated on by your local jobbing surgeon or Dr. Nick from the Simpsons?), it's certainly an interesting angle for debate in the field of music. Is being average a good or bad thing? Does it ultimately mean you're not really doing anything of note?
To my ears, Levy, a five piece New York band assembled around eponymous singer Daniel Levy, would seem to have released a rather average second album in the perhaps unfortunately titled Glorious. Hailing from New York yet sounding as if they emerged from its older, British, semi-namesake, there's nothing among the ten proper songs here that is particularly outstanding or gripping. And yet it all starts so well. The 33 second instrumental introductory track is pregnant with mystique and promise, and segues into the actually-quite-good title track, but any initial potential soon gives way to aimless emulation of fellow American anglophiles such as the Strokes, the Killers and Longwave. 'Glorious' itself is strongly reminiscent of 'The World is Outside' by Ghosts, and Daniel Levy's voice, though potent, is too similar to fellow New Yorker Julian Casablancas for comfort.
The word 'average' can suggest a succession of peaks and troughs, of highs and lows and light and dark which ultimately cancel each other out, but it can also suggest the median line which runs undeterred and unchanging through all of these states. Glorious falls firmly within the second definition; there's nothing conspicuously awful or knowingly distasteful here, but neither is there anything majestic. Ultimately, Levy seem unwilling to stray from their comfort zone, to try anything that might not work. It would be interesting to hear from them when they do discover a little bravery. Then they just might cover themselves in glory.