Thursday, March 26, 2009

Glasvegas - Glasvegas

Glasvegas' eponymous debut album was released in fall 2008, but with a busy spring and summer ahead of them, a lot more people are about to learn about this band. They've just started a 16-date North American tour that wraps up with a plum spot on Coachella's Saturday line up, and this summer in the UK they'll be opening for U2 and Kings of Leon.

Even if you don't know about the band's Scottish origins, the moment the vocals on the opening track, "Flowers and Football Tops," start, you'll know that Glasvegas is European rock, not American. Lead singer James Allan has a brogue so thick you could cut it with a knife, but even when you lose the lyrics in his accent, it doesn't detract from the musicality of the songs. The album as a whole is angsty, but with enough lightness to be appealing and not just depressing.

Glasvegas includes quite a few strong tracks. "Geraldine" transitions seamlessly into "It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry," although both songs are enjoyable singles on their own. "Daddy's Gone" takes its place alongside Harry Chapin's "Cat's In the Cradle" and Everclear's "Father of Mine," although it may be the most cheerful-sounding song ever in which a son mourns his abandonment by his father. "Stabbed" opens memorably with Allan voicing the lyrics, "I'm gonna get stabbed," over the mournful strains of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. "S.A.D. Light" starts with a sweet mournfulness before the intensity ramps up on the chorus.

While I can easily listen over and over again to all of the tracks I've already mentioned, the one that's become my favorite is the playful-sounding "Go Square Go," which, when you listen to the lyrics, is actually about a frightened kid working himself up to face off with the schoolyard bully who's been terrorizing him. The chorus and the crescendoing "here we go" end of the song beg to be shouted out loud along with the band during a live performance. With any luck, quite a few people will be doing exactly that in '09.

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