Sunday, November 30

Glasvegas- 'A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like A Kiss)

. Sunday, November 30

A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like A Kiss)
December 1 st

What a year 2008 has been for Glasvegas. They started the year by coming 4th in the BBC’s Mystic Meg goes pop ‘Sound of 2008’ poll behind Adele, Duffy and The Ting Tings respectively, released their critically acclaimed album in September and now round the year with a Christmas record that singer James Allen has been talking about since the band gained fame and success. What was originally going to be a stand alone Christmas LP has transformed somewhat with the stench of corporate meddling all over it. Standing at six tracks, one of which is a cover of ‘Silent Night’ this EP is available via download or tacked onto a ‘Deluxe’ edition of the ‘Glasvegas’ album proper. Some fans may feel slightly cheated.

One thing that strikes the neutral about Glasvegas however is that they inspire devotion on levels not seen since Arctic Monkeys launched in 2006, which will surely help shift copies of this EP. Personally I have never understood the Glasvegas phenomenon, often thinking of them as ‘The Emperors New Sound’. I vaguely remember Alan McGee TYPING IN CAPS LOCK AND DECLARING THEM TO BE THE BEST BAND EVER around 2004, things failed to take off for them then and I assumed they had been confined to the casket of also-rans. So when in November of last year NME and Guardian journalist Tim Jonze set up the Sane Man label to release ‘Daddy’s Gone’ I assumed it was an ill fated project.

However, switching on MTV2 recently and seeing some live footage of said song being performed in Aberdeen made me sit up and pay attention. The volume of the amassed throng bellowing the chorus back stage-wards was an inspiring moment. That song, and this band, really means something to people and regardless of what you think of the music that’s something you can’t ignore. They might be a major label indie band but they bypass the Kooks-esque hum along distraction music and lodge their songs in people’s emotional cortex. So with that in mind my ears are opened to the Christmas EP. Where before I felt the music was schlock and emotionally puerile I now want to find something that makes me feel the way that crowd in Aberdeen felt.

Sadly I’m not sure it is here. The bleak midwinter atmospheric setting is established immediately with the choral emptiness on ‘Careful What You Wish For’, a sort of short pre-cursor to the impending doom awaiting the listener. Next up is ‘Fuck You, It’s Over’ a stomping gargantuan vehicle of anger and bitterness, it is quite possibly the best thing Glasvegas have ever recorded. Whilst lyrically simple the pain and frustration in Allens voice is clear for all to see, as the song builds to a crescendo it’s hard not to join in. ‘Cruel Moon’ which follows such a high is inevitably somewhat of a let down, maudlin and self pitying the listeners patience is tested somewhat and the heavily accented croon loses these ears completely. ‘Please Come Back Home’, presumably a sequel to ‘Daddy’s Gone’, follows in previous Glasvegas 7” output with the Irivine Welsh meets My Bloody Valentine reverb heavy big pop song aesthetic. It works as well as anything the band have put out before but fails to create a stir in your belly, mainly as one suspects someone in a suit asked for ‘another hit’. As the EP title track rolls into the ‘Silent Night’ cover the music starts to wash over, nicely but non effective. What is striking about the album is that bar the first and last tracks no real spirit of Christmas is evoked at all. Whilst nobody is asking for jingle bells and Noddy Holder it seems odd that for such a talked about project ‘A Snowflake Fell’ could have worked as a series of effective B-sides or ‘Bonus Tracks’ on the aforementioned Deluxe album package.

Whilst my love affair with Glasvegas remains firmly on the rocks this EP is a perfect accompaniment to the bands album proper and will provide ample new material to play when the band tour in 2009. They have something special Glasvegas, but I’ll be damned if I can work out what it is.


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