Glass - The Sound of Glass
Owain Paciuszko 18/07/2010
Big eighties alternative drums, strutting bass line, a guitar that pops in and out curiously and the occasional jangly bell, all sidled up next to a subtle synth line plant Glass firmly in a musical category that's most assuredly 'in' at present. Alexander King has a reasonable voice, fitting for the style, and boldly chucks in a bit of spoken word mid-way through the Magazine-like opening track Driftwood's Daughter.
Hailing from York and allegedly inspired by a suitcase full of clippings relating to a 19th century inventor called Anthony Philip Glass, gives a hint at the band's penchant for theatricality regardless of the story's truth. Indeed the track This Odyssey may appeal to those who adore The Killers and Gothic-balladarian power-pop and obtuse lyrics. But, for me, tracks like Nothing in the World forms a cookie-cutter of why this kind of music alienates me, there's - ironically - glass between the listener and the sound, whereas emotional and powerful new wave should have the fevered resonance of, say, Robert Smith's despairing caterwauling or doe-eyed romanticism. Unfortunately the poses are too forced, the delivery to arch and careful and the music performed with a sheen suitable for the eightie's influence but, listening back to the bands that perhaps inspired them, you can hear an honesty and a rawness that doesn't come across in these recordings.
On the one hand I want to say that I'm the wrong person to review this record, that this genre of music isn't for me, but thinking about it I know that's not true because I've always enjoyed the eightie's alternative music, and though not well versed in its obscurer acts I can't help but feel like the current crop of group's allegedly inspired by the era have - in the more commercial spectrum - mangled their influence into something that lacks the excitement and energy of that particular time. It's a little difficult to hold a new band struggling to make a name for themselves up against the titans of a time, but at some point all bands are nothing and listening to a song like When the Rain Falls on this record just doesn't grab the ear-drums and, sure, there's the occasional nice flourish on the synths and the drumming can be strong here and there; but it never feels genuine, and though this band seem to enjoy the theatrical and the artificial, you can't engage with a two dimensional cardboard representation of something that had depth no matter how much it may strive to remind you of things you loved.
This may sound somewhat harsh and perhaps too ponderous for a review of a seven track record, and maybe Glass just didn't manage to bottle the feeling of their music during the studio sessions, as with all bands that don't grab me there's always a chance they can change my mind, just as likewise with a band that impresses me they can always stumble. Whatever the future may hold, this is a soggy record indicative of the traits that keep me at arms length from 21st century 'Goth new wave' nostalgia bands.