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  • Euphoric /// Heartbreak \\\

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    Related Artists - Arctic Monkeys, Jesus And Mary Chain, Oasis
    Related Genres - Alternative

    Glasvegas( 2008 )
    Flowers And Football Tops / Geraldine / It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry / Lonesome Swan / Go Square Go / Polmont On My Mind / Daddy's Gone / Stabbed / S.A.D. Light / Ice Cream Van

    Okay, they have an absolutely terrible name. Yes, they are the latest Alan McGhee sponsored act and yes, their mix of lo-fi Spector with a creaky Scottish whine for a vocalist won't be to everyone's tastes. First single 'Geraldine' is absolutely magnificent however and definite contender for one of the songs of the year. Glasvegas stick to their echo-filled, strangely reminiscent of 80s-indie guns ( Jesus And Mary Chain drums? ) and write an affecting, catchy tune that even sees fit to incorporate a fun, if unambitious short guitar solo. Heck, even the outro is a moment of glory. Several songs fail to hit the mark, however. 'Stabbed' seemingly tries to remind us all of Irvine Welsh but only manages to be terribly pretentious. 'SAD Light' is far too plodding and whiney and 'Polmont On My Mind' would have been better if it was titled 'Christmas On My Mind' and given a more upbeat and fun musical setting. I don't want songs that sound as if they are wallowing in abject misery. Well, the nosier musical sections are fine but I just can't take the vocals and lyrics here at all, really.

    'Flowers And Football Tops' is very, very reminiscent of The Ronettes, which is always a good thing in our house. 'Lonesome Swan' is also excellent, seemingly romantic again in a lo-fi, tinny 80s indie kind of way. Glasvegas isn't an album that sounds like it's had lots of money spent on it. Perhaps it has done, to make it sound like it hasn't? Who knows? The result though, a surplus of weak material aside, is a very promising, echo filled debut. 'Go Square Go' is a song with enough bells, loud drums and echo to be a pleasing tune all year round except summer. This is very much a wintry album and as such, perfectly suited to the time of year.

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    Euphoric /// Heartbreak \\\ 6 ( 2011 )
    Pain Pain, Never Again / The World Is Yours / You / Shine Like Stars / Whatever Hurts You Through the Night / Stronger Than Dirt / Dream Dream Dreaming / I Feel Wrong / Euphoria, Take My Hand / Lots Sometimes / Change

    Arriving are a new drummer and U2 producer Flood. Also arriving is a musical change of tack in places with synths and electronica more of an influence than before. Flood/Glasvegas see fit to really make the rock songs are loud and 'stadium' as possible, something which on occasion is unwelcomingly akin to being repeatedly punched in the face. Lyrically, where as before it seemed Glasvegas were leaning on their own lives of lyrical inspiration, too often here ('You', 'Shine Like Stars') we get sort of generic emoting. Emote he does, James Allan positively belting out almost every tune as if he entire life depends on it, as a result, there's a real lack of subtly, diversion and genuine soul and emotion. Three minutes of whispering over ambient electronica then serve as a distraction to enhance the appeal of the actually excellent 'The World Is Yours' which with added dramatic strings could pass as an audition for a bond-theme. It's an upflifting, well constructed rock-anthem and the new drummer makes his presence felt too, power assured and 'stadium' than the previous incumbant and he drives the music forwards. I briefly mentioned 'You' and 'Shine Like Stars' and that beating over the head sound is unwelcome but not as unwelcome as the ballad 'Whatever Hurts You Through The Night', a lyrical nod to John Lennon there? This song really drags, the sound is echoey and more akin to their debut than anything else here yet married to a slow, tuneless dirge. He may as well just spontaneously combust as the end of the song thankfully nears, wailing and shouting and achieving almost nothing.

    'Stronger Than Dirt' and 'I Feel Wrong' are subtitled 'Homosexuality' parts one and two. Tackling the big issues? Great. How about writing some tunes and not bashing us around the head with dull thudding bass, totally un-inspiring guitar lines which somehow fail to contain any melody at all and a drummer who is possibly the best musician here. On top of that, the strong Scottish slant to the vocals (naturally enough) requires a lot of concentration to pick our any lyrical highpoints. 'Euphoric /// Heartbreak \\\' tries to expand the Glasvegas musical recipe with several tracks heavy on 80s sounding synths, 'Euphoria, Take My Hand' being one of them. You suspect there's a good song here struggling to break free of an overpowering and clumsy production and overall sound. Most songs clock in at over four/five minutes, if you manage to make it to the end, the three minute long 'Change' sports a vocal by James Allan's mum (really) you'll be rewarded by something at least entirely different from Glasvegas and perhaps something actually moving emotionally. Piano and vocals and spoken word and whilst some may find 'Change' preachy and frankly unlistenable, this stripped back approach is something Glasvegas should perhaps take up more when they work on their next LP.

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    this page last updated 22/04/11

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    Made In Devon.