Friday, September 19

Glasvegas- 'Glasvegas'

. Friday, September 19

September 8th
Sony BMG

People get very angry about hype in relation to music. Many a band are dismissed as “Just a load of hyped up rubbish’ often followed by “All style no substance.” Often these people have a point (The Horrors) often they are wrong (Klaxons). Now Glasvegas have had more than their fare share of hype in the past few months. From the NME declaring them the best band in Britain to Alan McGee claiming they were the most important band to come out in 20 years the four black clad Scots have established themselves and press and fan darlings with seemingly nobody daring or wanting to say anything in opposition. This always struck this reviewer as being odd given the bands obvious limitations and very clear inspirations. It is however not my job to be subjective here, objective is the name of the game, so why are this band being tipped so highly and collecting superlatives at every turn?

On the strength of the bands debut album ‘Glasvegas’ it’s really very hard to understand why at all. Much of the pre game talk was about the sincerity, emotion and passion of singer James Allens lyrics, how he documents modern day Britain through his own harrowing tales of abandonment and anguish. Allen’s lyrics focus on bad things happening. From child death to stabbings and how his own Father became estranged from him at an early age. Whilst nobody would wish these things on a fellow human being it does not put Allen and Glasvegas above criticism on their lyrics. Put simply they lay it on thick, really thick. Take ‘Flowers & Football Tops’ for instance is about a mother losing her young son with its title taken from funeral paraphernalia. “My baby is six feet under, just another number, my daughter without her brother” Allen sings with earnestness not seen since Comic Relief appeals. As if that wasn’t hammy enough the song ends with a verse from ‘You Are My Sunshine’ to truly brighten your day. ‘Geraldine’ meanwhile masquerades as a love song for three minutes, talking of saving lives, holding hands and providing company before the an amazing turn face occurs and Geraldine is revealed to be a social worker, evidentially those longing looks across the care home were government sponsored.

If you feel sympathy for Allen then he provides reasons to hate him on ‘It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry’. “Everybody’s doing it so why can’t I, I tally up tonight’s strangers and stragglers that I’ve kissed” he says. Presumably you are meant to become Freud at this point and say “Well his father left at an early age and he has serious issues regarding intimacy and love so I should forgive him and give him a big hug.” However the opposite view here would be “Please stop whining you big baby. Yes some bad stuff happened to you in the past and you cheat on your girlfriend. Please stop subjecting my ears to this nonsense.”

The second half of the ‘Glasvegas are amazing’ argument appears to be that they write anthems destined to be sung back by enormous crowds next Summer. This is obviously inevitable and to cement it Dave Sardy has been roped in on production to give a cinematic feel to proceedings. This he does effortlessly but at what cost? Many times throughout the album things seem to be playing to a crowd when they need to be aimed at the individual. The layers of reverb across all the tracks make everything ostentatious, putting a luxurious black cape over the listener. Add to that the thick Scottish brogue running through Allen’s voice and his inclination for adding chant friendly moments into songs and you have a winning combination for the live shows. This is no bad thing and Glasvegas certainly excel at whipping the listener up into an emotional frenzy but it all seems so easily deconstructed that it lacks the real killer punch.

Glasvegas are by no means an awful band, they are no worse than say The Enemy, Fratellis or View. It is the unadulterated levels of love and worship that have got this writers back up as the musical output simply does not match up accordingly. The uniform of gloomy self pity in uninspiring as it is uninspired and the cod anthemics simply don’t wash. Next for Glasvegas is a Christmas album, expect to hear about how the holiday is cancelled as Santa left home after cheating on Mary and leaving the elves with nobody to take them to play football on a Sunday. Oh and for it to sell fucking millions.

Daddy's Gone' on Jools Holland.



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