Glass Towers: Halcyon Days
In Australia, indie rock groups pop up as frequently as schizophrenic twitter updates from Amanda Bynes. At the rate in which these artists are imported from Down Under, they could corner the independent music market in the United States by the next fiscal quarter. An unfortunate result of this influx is that legitimate talent is diluted by the sheer number of bands making their way across the Pacific. However, Glass Towers, the Sydney-based indie pop-rock quartet, may just be good enough to separate themselves from the masses with their debut album, Halcyon Days.
Glass Towers’ first EP, What We Were, When We Were, arrived in 2011, but it was the carefree, catchy single, “Jumanji,” released in February of 2012, that garnered serious attention from critics as well as high expectations for the band’s debut album. It took a year and a half after “Jumanji” for Glass Towers to complete Halcyon Days, but the wait is justified.
Halcyon Days is comprised of 11 tracks meant to rekindle our youth, exposing emotions that drove us to make inspiring – and often absurd – decisions. Surprisingly, Glass Towers have discovered that being young was about more than just hooking up and partying. Halcyon Days explores our aimless journey through childhood, as we battle the fears of becoming adults, leaving things behind, and losing our first loves while simultaneously feeling high off of living without consequences and the unknown worlds that awaited us.
Halcyon Days opens with “In this City,” a song that sets the tone for the album, with a bursting energy and lyrics emblematic of the need to leave a life behind and move toward something new (“In this city, in this town, I die.”). “In this City” also hints at how Glass Towers craft the majority of their songs, utilizing tropical guitars, frantic drum beats dominated by cymbals, and the earnest vocals of frontman Benjamin Hannam. This formula is never more present than with the album’s first single “Jumanji,” which contains soaring choruses, trickling guitars and the acknowledgment of time passing us by.
“Halcyon,” the second single off Halcyon Days, is possibly the band’s most expansive track, with powerful harmonies, sharper, more aggressive guitar riffs, and Hannam’s impressive falsettos. Other standouts are the more somber, introspective “Foreign Time,” and the kinetic, angst-filled “Tonight.”
The main flaw with Halcyon Days is that each song struggles to create its own identity. The energy that opens the LP never relents, becoming somewhat tiresome as the second half of the album begins. The band would have benefited by including two to three songs that show restraint and the ability to keep our attention without racing toward the finish line.
Even with its flaws, Halcyon Days is an entertaining, inspiring album that hints at a developing band’s potential. Once Glass Towers incorporate alternative influences and pull back the reins a bit, we should receive a more matured, complex album. But let’s not fault Glass Towers for their mistakes. They’re young, and isn’t that what Halcyon Days is all about?