Glasvegas - Bring Back The Glory Days - Velocity, Dunfermline 15th Jan 2011

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10 Feb 2011, 21:33

There is something very endearing about a band that not only acknowledge their roots but clearly reflect them in their songs. With Glasvegas, the Glasgow they are from centres them in the bittersweet Scottish mindset; their songs of edgy and gritty emotions fuse heartbreak with triumphant and anthemic moments, and have enabled Glasvegas to escape the trappings of Dalmarnock, and head for success, following the release of their self titled debut in 2008.

The combination of big and blistering guitar parts with James Allan’s honest and self confessional lyrics delivered in an almost undeciferable, yet self assured manner came together to produce a magnificent debut album. The big sounding ‘wall of sound’ production became a signature for the band drawing on elements as diverse as doo-wop and the kind of vague shoe gazing brigade, making them instantly stand out and appeal to listeners.

Anthemic songs overcoming and piercing raw, edgy, yet passionate pleas that confess the truth of a divided and at times bleak society are what help make this band great. The fact these songs touch on reality, sectarianism and the likes of violence, and isolation, has only helped define a place for themselves, and in so doing a stupendous list of accolades and predictions of grandeur and success has been swung in their direction.

Anyway enough … you know the songs if not go listen, and look out for the new album which is hoped will be a fitting follow up….

On returning from hanging out in LA and recording their new album, Glasvegas bring music back to their fanbase. Yes they managed to take on America, supporting the likes of the mighty U2 and The Kings of Leon… But, with a noticeable absence from home over the last 2 years, the question I ask is has the mainstream truly taken hold then? Has a shift occurred in the bands DNA which will be hard to recapture? To what extent does their music rely on Scotland?… Let the people decide… and it seems right that the band mark their return by playing a handful of more intimate gigs in their homeland country, stopping off in destinations such as Orkney, through to the Borders.

On a miserable Saturday night, in darkest Dunfermline, the rain came down and I made my way across the Central Belt from Glasgow, through the usual myriad of road works, wondering with anticipation as to whether the new material from the forthcoming album HEARTBREAK // EUPHORIA would mark a new direction for the band.

Breaking into the first number from the new album, ‘The World is Yours’ offers a more sophisticated level of songwriting, hinting at an almost soundtrack like quality with vocal reverb and pulsating synth layers – adding an ephemeral, and higher octane sound between urgent guitar work. Laced with slightly repressed vocals the band break from these into more expansive territories.

The electrifying ‘Geraldine’ and ‘It’s my own cheating heart that makes me cry’ not surprisingly seem to make the biggest impact here tonight and the rapturous response from the crowd to the haunting and touching ‘Daddys Gone’ appear to leave a crowd chanting in blissful oblivion and finding comfort somewhere in the midst of all this.

There are only a few tasters of new material here…. ‘Euphoria Hold my Hand’ would make a great single and that guitar intro definitely rocks The Northernline’s sensibilities… a quality which seems to suggest a cross between The Stone Roses and Muse perhaps … to which guitarist Rab Allan should be very proud!

So exciting times for Glasvegas, with a new production crew in tow and a replacement stand up drummer who seems to hit those drums harder than before… they are clearly back to business as usual…. Perhaps the band are at a tipping point though – it will be hard to compete with their debut album … The people of Scotland and further a field expect a lot… will they go on to follow the footsteps of U2, and fill stadiums, only to revisit the then unrecognizable Dalmarnock as part of the opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games in 2014, or will they stick to their roots and continue to find their voice in their old stomping ground….They may find the world has has moved on from 2008, but there is always room for a band with rock n roll in their soul, ( excuse the cliché ) and knowing where it has come from.

This review can also be seen at The Northernline.com

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