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The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy recently chatted with Rolling Stone about “metal, musicals and scary jobs.”

Colin Meloy

Colin Meloy

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CD Review: Glasvegas, “Glasvegas”


While absorbing the aural exquisiteness that is the self-titled debut from Scottish foursome Glasvegas, I experienced more than a few pinch-me-this-can’t-be-real moments. Now I realize, as any die-hard music fan can probably relate, confessing your adoration of a new band every few weeks is a bit like crying wolf. No matter how sincere your passion for an artist’s work may be, it’s hard for people to take you seriously when there always seems to be another “best band in the world you have to hear” waiting in the wings. Words like “amazing,” “gorgeous,” and “brilliant,” tend to lose their meaning when applied to every new album being reviewed. I keep this in mind. Really, I do. But seriously, you have to hear this band.



Glasvegas is, in short, a tidal wave of sound riddled with swirls of glittering, otherworldly guitars crashing over a wall of 60’s pop. The music’s grand, anthemic character is bigger than anything physically tangible. Vocalist (and Joe Strummer lookalike) James Allan cries his band’s songs with a passion assured to tickle the hairs on the back of your neck with every listen.

Just when you think the band has hit their stride–built a song to epic proportions and are just waiting for the fall–they’ll rocket your emotions to yet another dimension. (Take 2:48 of “Go Square Go” for instance.) Whether they’re provoking you to riot with euphoria (“Here we, here we, here we fucking go!”) or break down and weep (“So this is the grand finale/The crescendo of demise/This is the happy ending/Where the bad guy goes down and dies/This is the end”), Glasvegas’s music is nothing if not an emotional rollercoaster.

“Daddy’s Gone” is one of the best of the bunch. Imagine The Raveonettes with a heavy Scottish brogue and even heavier subject matter. “I won’t be the lonely one/Sitting on my own and sad/A fifty year old reminiscing what I had/Forget your dad, he’s gone,” promises Allen.

If you’re more in the mood for something to dance to, or at least pump a fist to, be sure to check out the power loaded fight song, “Go Square Go.” Between gentler, jangling interludes of what NME called “shiver-inducing guitars” the song erupts into the best candidate for the Universal Anthem of Youth that you’re likely to hear.

As much as this is a band that anyone, anywhere can fall in love with, it’s worth noting the particular importance of a band like Glasvegas across the pond. Much like classic UK bands such as The Kinks, The Clash, Blur, The Smiths, Pulp, and The Jam, Glasvegas’ music is very much an expression of the society from which it came. Though I’m a massive fan of all the aforementioned groups, I acknowledge that their music carries a layer of cultural weight unique to my own experiences growing up in the United States that I will probably never be able to fully appreciate.

Take The Clash’s “(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais” for example: with a minimal amount of research, anyone can discover the sentiment behind lyrics about Hitler’s limousine and “the all-night drug prowling wolf.” It’s an undeniably brilliant song-from the music itself, to the clever poetry of Strummer’s lyrics and poignant take on alienation-though your chances of actually living the song firsthand are greatly increased with British citizenship. Similarly, Glasvegas’ musical appeal is universal, but since so much of their song content is flavored with cultural specifics, they are secured an especially adored place in the hearts of Scottish youth.

The presence of geographic nuances aside, Glasvegas’ debut is, in every way, a massively important musical document–something that transcends the charts, international press, and my own rambling reviews. This album simply sparkles.

-Shelley Peckham

Check out the band on their official page, their myspace, and on YouTube:

“Daddy’s Gone”


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