GLASVEGAS – Glasvegas (Sony)
So far I have managed to ignore most of the hype that has been written about this band, as one listen to ‘Daddy’s Gone’ was enough to convince me that Glasvegas were really nothing special. I therefore expected the hyperbole to die down when other people realised the same thing, and when it didn’t I started to wonder if I was missing something. After hearing the album I would have to say that no, I wasn’t, and while it is a perfectly acceptable debut from a new band, there is really nothing on here that I haven’t already heard many times before. ‘Flowers And Football Tops’ is a good example, with its 60’s girl group melody buried under a ton of feedback, swiftly bringing to mind Jesus And Mary Chain, and the coda of ‘You Are My Sunshine’ tagged on the end only helps emphasis the point. ‘Geraldine’ is much better, with its thumping rhythm and chiming guitar, but by the time you reach second single ‘It’s My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry’ you start to think that perhaps it wasn’t such a great idea to sing the songs in quite such a strong Scottish accent. For a band whose lyrics are supposed to be so important it would be nice to understand them now and again. ‘Lonesome Swan’ is another Phil Spector-ish wall of sound over a slight melody, while ‘Go Square Go’ is a adrenalin charged rocker which goes some way to making up for what has preceded it. ‘Polmont On My Mind’ sprawls over its four minutes, hammering home the suspicion that Glasvegas don’t really do verse, chorus, verse, and then we have the much hyped ‘Daddy’s Gone’. Even after hearing it four or five times now, it still just sounds pretty average to me, with its tambourine and doo-wop backing vocals making it sound even more like a twisted 60’s girl group offering than ‘Flowers And Football Tops’. ‘Stabbed’ has been getting some odd press, and you can see why when you hear its monotone monologue about inner city violence intoned over Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’, but as an experiment it is nothing if not brave. ‘S.A.D. Light’ and ‘Ice Cream Van’ round off the album with a couple of more mainstream tunes – the former an up-beat guitar-led rocker and the latter a melancholy piece which gradually builds up to an emotional crescendo. Despite some of the comments in this review I don’t actually hate this album, and some of the songs are growing on me, but I just think that it can be extremely derivative and nowhere near as fantastic as you might have been led to believe, so be wary of the hype and at least try to hear some before you commit your hard-earned pennies.