Glasvegas: Later…When the TV Turns to Static
When Glasvegas stormed onto the scene in 2008 with their self-titled debut, the Scottish group demonstrated a flare for taking everyday social scenarios and making them worthy of grand arrangement. Five years on, they have honed that majesty well, but on occasion they become too self-indulgent and full of bombast.
Lead single “I’d Rather Be Dead (Than Be With You)” is a gripping combination of spoken word, delicate piano, and vocalist James Allan’s sweeping shout. This is a textbook example of the band’s fusion of beautiful music with dark lyrics. “All I Want Is My Baby” shows off their rock sensibilities as Allan bellows, “It’s all about the money.” The standout track to demonstrate the band’s growth is “If,” with lyrics like “If not for bad stuff the good would never be enough.”
However, sometimes a band can hone its signature too sharply. Allan has a penchant for repeating lyrics, but the chorus to “Youngblood” grows tedious after more than four minutes of the song. Another producer could have perhaps honed back this tendency to shout and repeat rather than write another lyric to fill in the gaps, but as Allan himself produced the record, I imagine he was too close to the material to kill his darlings in a worthy manner.
Later… is worth the listen, especially for established fans. The band clearly has smart observations to make, but they should not be so muddled by the presentation.