Glossary — Feral Fire. Out 2/2, Liberty & Lament.
One of my favorite things about Glossary’s sound is the combination of the fuzzed out, grinding guitars with Todd Beene’s sleek, wailing pedal steel and Joey Kneiser’s voice, which might have a whiskey edge but not quite a whiskey rasp — somewhere between the guitars and Beene’s steel, sonically, pulling them all together. And if that was all I ever wanted from a Glossary album, I would love this album; the first four tracks sound like I expect Glossary to sound, and since they are a great band it makes for a great album.
But I prefer Glossary out of their comfort zone, like the piano ballad plaint of “Blood On The Knobs” on Better Angels, and the middle of the album delivered that for me, taking this album from “really good and super enjoyable” to “really fucking fantastic.” The straight-ahead, no-distortion, twang-rock of “No Guarantees” and the sad, loping heartbreak of “The Sweet Forever” break up the middle of an album that feels otherwise familiar (albeit a very, very welcome forever).
It’s really at “No Guarantee” where the album hits its stride, filling the songs with moments that stopped my breath. Joey’s near unaccompanied vocals in “The Natural State”, the soaring 70s guitar line that opens and fills “Pretty Things”, and “No Guarantee” and “The Sweet Forever” are great, great tracks — but the kicker on this album, the killer track, is 10 of 11, “Through The Screen Door”, a song that wraps the standard Southern ode to a life watched from a front porch into Glossary’s signature sound and Joey’s unique perspective, and then they wrap it up with a song that sounds like the South that people expect: “Hope and Peril” rings with close harmonies, acoustic guitar, and Beene’s steel, tucked safely away making everything sound a little sadder, a little more hopeful.
Glossary is already a band that’s different from their other “Southern rock band” counterparts; primarily, the fuzz and distortion they’re so committed to in their guitar sound pushes them into “Southern garage rock band with a twang” territory. They’re not your standard everyman band from Tennessee. They’re something bigger, and something better.
[Glossary — “No Guarantee” 6MB, .mp3. ]
[Glossary — “Through The Screen Door” 9MB, .mp3. ]
If you like what you hear, you can still pick up frontman Joey Kneiser’s 2009 solo record and Glossary’s 2008 release The Better Angels of Our Nature for free here. Then go buy everything else they’ve put out either from the band itself, or at least your favorite independent music retailer.
Also worthwhile today: a great interview/article with Tim Barry, whose 28th & Stonewall I wrote about last week, and you can stream the full album here at Suburban Home; and Los Campesinos!’ Romance Is Boring, released today and which I shall review at a later date, if you dig crunchy guitar indie power pop and Welsh accents; Tim Burton’s new website is kind of completely amazing.
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