Album Reviews

Glasvegas – Glasvegas

(Columbia) UK release date: 8 September 2008


Glasvegas - GlasvegasA low key arrival this is not.

Glavegas’s debut has already had a lot said about it. So much that you can’t help but figure that this album will go one of two ways. Either it will be the record that lives up to all that’s been promised, showcasing Glasvegas as the most exciting band in the country, who can turn lead into gold and prove that there are infinitely many Fibonacci primes with their feet before breakfast. Or it won’t.

If it isn’t, it’ll be a tragic, horrific mistake. Because hype amplifies expectations and begats disdain.

Like the response to all good ballot papers, the actual answer is none of the above. The actuality is that it’s an average, sometimes good, occasionally excellent record, which promises a bit and delivers a little.

If nothing else, they do have size. And not in a deep fried Magic Numbers fashion. Quite a lot of the time Glasvegas sound massive. Not noisy, per se, not scaling a vertigo inducing wall-of-sound (as much as they’d like to be), just far apart. Expansive.

U2-like. Seriously, for all the talk of The Jesus And Mary Chain which has hung around them, the opening passages of Flowers and Football Tops don’t half reek, in that distant, dusty, Joshua Tree style, of Bono and Co’s finest hour.

The other surprising development is that there’s a fair slice of the macho dry-yer-eyes bluster the last McGee pronounced best-band-in-the-world-ever have adopted. You can quite easily picture these songs busting the roofs off stadiums as Stella swigging blokes grab their nearest doppelgänger, pat one another’s shaved head and declare undying love; in a totally platonic and totally non-gay fashion, of course. Although that does hilariously imply that the terraces will soon ring to the slightly unnerving cry of “My name is Geraldine, I’m your social worker.”

Certainly it’s easy to get swept up in Glavegas’ wake in the early stages. Geraldine is sky scrapingly epic, It’s My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry couldn’t be more of an anthem if Michael Phelps heard it every time he got out of a swimming pool, and Flowers And Football Tops is a blistering fuck-yee-Brandon, this-a-ha-we do-ite-op-North take on widescreen indie.

But not because of any lyrical subtlety or depth. Not to say it isn’t there: hooliganism, tragic violence, absent fathers – they certainly aren’t singing about cigarettes and alcohol, it’s just that you don’t tend to realise. It gets lost in the noise they make.

Maybe that isn’t their fault. What is their fault is the dirgish S.A.D. Light, droning away pointlessly in a haze of processed snare, the mawkish Stabbed, and the uncomfortable Go Square Go, pairing shoegaze and rockabilly together for the first time since records began.

So Glasvegas sound massive. They could be massive. But in the light of what this album was supposed to be, that doesn’t feel like enough. It’s another debut album laid low by ravages of hype.


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More on Glasvegas
Glasvegas – Later… When The TV Turns To Static
Glasvegas @ Heaven, London
Glasvegas @ Plug, Sheffield
Glasvegas – A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like A Kiss)
Glasvegas @ Trinity, Bristol