With an overwhelming wall of distorted guitars and navel-gazing lyrics, one could easily confuse Glasvegas as a relic from the ‘90s. Displaying working-class grit while also lacking Oasis or Suede’s smarmy wit, the Scottish group refuses to retreat from grandeur in their songs.
This album, the band’s first, was honed after a steady release of singles since 2006. Half-named after their hometown of Glasgow, the album displays much of that town’s characteristic brusqueness and dark temperament. Among the album’s 10 tracks, there is hardly a sanguine melody or line to be found.
Discussing the vagaries and struggles of a less privileged existence is hardly revolutionary. What Glasvegas, and particularly songwriter James Allan, provide is that they engage the simple life with an unbridled bombast. On “Geraldine,” the simple engagement with a social worker (apparently a band groupie) turns out to be a matter of, literally, life and death.
The raw emotion of Allan’s voice and the stomping guitars are nullified by Rich Costey’s (who has worked with Muse and Interpol, among others) stripped production. Glasvegas are not an arena rock band. Their songs beg to be scaled back, Allan’s existential trouble enhanced by the noise his band clearly wants to make. Musical prowess, which the band has in droves, can still be proven with feedback.

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