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I bought this album without listening to a single song - it was a recommendation from a friend. And I am so glad that I did buy it - this has to be one of the best albums I have heard in a very long time. The music itself is reminiscent of the Phil Spector "Wall of Sound" production. Each song has a strong drum beat, resonating guitar melody and both accompany the singer's unmistakable voice. Being Scottish, I found it easy to understand his accent at first listen. I know people who have enjoyed the tune, music and overall sound of the songs but have taken a few listens to actually hear what he is saying. Even if you don't understand him, the tune itself just hits you somewhere deep inside. But the words - words of a genius. "flowers and football tops" is a simple song and in the simplistic terms makes a devastating recount of a murder even more shocking. Most reviews of the album seem to recommend "Daddy's Gone" as the best song, and it's good, really good, but for me the standout song is "Geraldine". I cried the first time i heard it. Here is a man singing about the kindness of one human being and it just touches my heart each time i hear it. The album as a whole is fantastic. in summary - buy it, but listen to it on your own first as i can guarantee you will have a wee tear in your eye even if you don't fully understand the scottish terms!
A truely fantastic album, that will become a cult classic. Without the hype of the 'Arctic Monkeys' or 'Stone Roses' this band have released one of the best written albums of the decade. Sang with the harsh Glaswegian dialect, the regional accent may not appeal to all, but their is a raw sound to the vocals and the music that should be listened too.
The lyrics are written from individual experiences and talk about all the local issues living and growing up n Glasgow. Topics such as football and sectarianism, knife crime and the general bleak environment are all covered without the attempt to be political. Everything is done on an observational level and in much the way rap does tells important stories of the environment.
If you have been waiting for something fresh and new in the world of indie then this is it. It maybe short at only 10 tracks and 30 mins run time but you will listen over and over as you get drawn into the music.
It took me a while to warm to black-clad Glaswegian indie four-piece Glasvegas, but after a couple of listens on the radio and some very high rankings in most newspapers' 'Best of 2008' polls, I decided to give it a go when I saw it in the HMV sale.
And I'm glad I did - on their self-titled debut, the band produce a beautiful soundscape that is as touching as it is ambitious, and is both dark and brooding, yet similtaneously uplifting. The most obvious reference point is shoegazing bands such as The Jesus and Mary Chain, but it also owes a sizable debt to Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" production of the 1960s.
Standout tracks include the singles 'Flowers and Football Tops', 'Go Square Go!' and 'Geraldine', the latter song being rather unfashionable lyrically, being one that champions social workers.
The downside of the album is that it does rather run into one, with each track not sounding wildly different from the last, and some may find the wordy, emotional songs a little cloying. But if you want a big-hearted, atmospheric candle-waver of an album you really could do worse than this.
I'm the first to admit that I'm not much of a follower of music, particularly 'new' music and especially 'hyped' music but when I first heard Glasvegas performing 'Daddy's Gone' on Radio 1, I immedietely asked for their album for Christmas. Dutifuly received, I have spent a few days familiarising myself with this fantastic album and am enchanted with it.
The thing I like about this band is that they sing with their Scottish accents and not the usual fake Amercian style singing, it really does add something different to the songs which are mostly melancholy, by the way. A good break-up album! There are a few samples used in their songs which work really well, and make a welcome surprise.
My favourites on this album are 'Geraldine' ('my name is Geraldine and I will be your social worker' - who would't feel a tug at lyrics like these!) and of course 'Daddy's Gone'. This is a great album which as I mentioned earlier does consist mostly of downbeat songs but there are a couple of really uplifting ones in there to keeps things interesting such as 'Flowers and Football Tops'
This is certainly a very different album and I reckon that they will be big in 2009 - maybe not topping the charts but more of an underground band that will last the distance.
They were described by the NME as the "best new band in Britain" and with their debut self-titled long player Glasvegas prove that they're not just over-hyped wannabes.
The opening song Flowers And Football Tops is simply magnificent and has a tremendously uplifting chorus. "Baby, they don't need to show. It's over I know" sings James Allan. Right at at the end he starts singing "You Are My Sunshine, my only sunshine" which my wife is always singing. It turns out that this song is nearly sixty years old and is one of two official songs for the State Of Louisiana. You learn something new everyday, don't you?
Geraldine is also a great song with lots of oohs which Glasvegas seem to like a lot. It was actually their first single on a major label (Columbia Records) after they released three limited edition singles on an independent label including I'm Gonna Get Stabbed (released in November 2004) which borrows music from Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven. It's been re-recorded for this album and is just called Stabbed. It's okay but it doesn't touch me in the way that Daddy's Gone does. I love the chorus in James Allan sings, "I won't be the lonely one. Sitting on my own and sad. A fifty year old. Reminiscing what I had". This song has been re-recorded too.
Polmont On My Mind keeps the hugely uplifting feel of the album in full flow. It's another stomper of a song with a punchy bassline and memorable guitar riff.
The final track Ice Cream Van is more mellow and appears to have a political meaning judging by the line, "Destroying the ground where gruesome lays. Sectarianism and the hurtful racist ways".
Glasvegas are from Dalmarnock, Glasgow. This is clear, not only by their name but also by James Allan's Glaswegian accent which is almost as important as Rab Allan's awe-inspiring guitar riff, Paul Donoghue's bass guitar and Caroline McKay's pounding drums. However Glasvegas are nothing like fellow countrymen, the much more quirky The View who sing about wearing the same pair of jeans for four days, James Allan's lyrics are much more meaningful and are about everyday life. For instance during It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry he says, "I'm feeling so guilty about the things I said to my mum when I was ten years old". He even pays homage to Oasis during this song with the line "What's the story morning glory".
Glasvegas have shown with their debut album that they are a force to be reckoned with and they are due to release a premature follow-up on December 1st called A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like A Kiss).
I am always wary about the latest over hyped NME band. Anyone remember Gaydad or Menswear? Exactly! However they can get it right sometimes and I have to admit I am in love with the latest band of the moment: Glasvegas. I first heard them late night on XFM and immediately fell in love with their guitar laden wall of sound and the swooping but unashamedly thick Glaswegian vocals that may be unintelligible to some not used to the accent. (A friend of mine when seeing Glasvegas asked for subtitles or simultaneous translation to be supplied at their gigs).
Glasvegas are a quartet hailing from Dalmarnock in the heart of Glasgow's east end. Fronted by black leather clad ex footballer James Allan, they consist of Rab Allan (guitar), Paul Donoghue (bass) and Caroline McKay (drums). They were discovered and championed by creation records founder Alan McGee.
So what is so special about Glasvegas? When they are at their best they write up beat sounding anthemic songs that on closer inspection are at times gritty, miserable and a bit angst ridden butt also personal and at time beautiful.
The album begins with a long gradual build up of layered reverb until the punchy drums introduce the opening track Flowers and Football Tops". Its instantly likable and catchy with the Phil Spectoresque "woahs" and "babies" being repeated throughout. (The constant reference to baby is important as the song is about a mother talking to a dead son who was knifed). At times it strangely reminds me of "Love is Strange" by Micky and Sylvia".This epic song ends with a slower mournful rendition of "You are my Sunshine" which seems slightly strange and a perhaps tacked on ending with squeals of feedback.
Geraldine can be the only song in musical history about a social worker and her dedication to her clients., but what a song. It is just a happy up beat song with its bouncy chiming riff and tapping tambourine introduction and its background oohs ( I love backing vocals). Its just a classic pop song and probably one of the more accessible songs on the album, as the accent is not to harsh or difficult to understand.
The highlight of the album for me is "My Cheating Heart that Makes Me Cry". It should not work but it does. Imagine the sound of a broad Glaswegian rambling about all his trouble and mistakes in life. That's the basis of the song but there is just something about it that I love. The power of the raw emotion in this song is amazing. I love the way some of the lyrics are spewed out 15 to a dozen, such as the old playground chant "Liar liar pants on fire! and the wonderful "I'm feeling so guilty about the things I said to m ma when I was ten year old" . Just an awesome song and one of my favourtie tracks of this year.
Glasvegas may not be the album for those offended by a bit of swearing as most of the songs are liberally peppered with the F word. "Go Square Go is a good example. Its a song about a playground fight and evokes the atmosphere of the subject. I can almost hear the chant "scrap scrap, fight fight". Its got a strange interlude in the middle with the vocals all distorted. The song builds into a full on irresistible chant of "Here we |F'ing Go" repeated several times, which sounds F~~king brilliant live.
Glasvegas are best when they wear their heart's on their sleeves. Daddy's Gone feels almost uncomfortably personal as its James Allan's bittersweet lament to his absent father. The exploration of his mixed feelings to his father are eloquent and touching but not too maudlin. Its a very likable song with the trademark Glasvegas sound of chirping tambourine, an underplayed guitar riff quite dramatic vocals at times and loads of ooh and woahs. At times during the chorus of "He's Gone" it sounds almost haunting. I like the vocals in this one as its not too broad but it is very Scottish in the diction of the lyrics (Showders instead of shoulders for example). I love the Scottish accent on all the tracks as it sounds so familiar to me but makes feel almost homesick at times.
Stabbed is an odd kettle of fish. It does not follow the rich layered guitar melodies. Instead we have a very stark spoken monologue about Glaswegian knife culture backed by Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. I'm not sure if I like it but it is a break form the norm because the problem with the album is that it does get a bit samey. It could be a a problem for the band with their longevity if they keep the same sound. I find the less strong tracks such as Lonesome Swan and SAD Game just merge into the background. compared to the stronger tracks.
"Lonesome Swan" has the chiming guitar introduction and driving rhythm section as other songs but apart from a guitar solo at the end it seems quite weak and unmemorable lacking the sparkle of stronger tracks.
"Fear Fear Fear" starts off "Polmont on my Mind "(Polmont is a prison near Falkirk) and unfortunately this word repeatedly starkly is the most interesting thing and memorable thing about the song. Its another one with guitars a plenty and clashing drums and cymbals but nothing much else going on.
SAD LIGHT starts off with a rhythmic drum beat and a keyboard riff. It starts quite understated but develops into a more powerful louder section perhaps reminiscent of "Cheating Heart" but not quite as good with lyrics nicked from nursery rhymes "Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder how you are" Its one that has grown on me slightly but still a bit weak.
The album ends with "Ice Cream Van" which does have a different feel to it. Its a much quieter song than most. It starts off with an organ riff that underplays the very stark, mournful understated vocal. Its no sing along anthem like some of the others but it has a certain eerie beauty that ends the album on a very down beat mood.
Glasvegas are a breath of fresh air sounding unlike anyone in the music scene today . The debut album is a competent one with a lot to like about it. However it is spoiled by two or three fillers that could be stronger. I am hoping Glasvegas will develop their trade mar "Jesus and Mary Chin meets Phil Spector" sound so they do not become one trick ponies..
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Flowers And Football Tops
3 It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry
4 Lonesome Swan
5 Go Square Go
6 Polmont On My Mind
7 Daddy's Gone
9 SAD Light
10 Ice Cream Van