Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Circus

Glueboy – Yikes (Album Review)

Glueboy XXI

The past few Friday’s haven’t offered much in the way of new material but this week proved to be an exception, gifting the world new tracks from Earth Girls, Anti Pony, JEFF The Brotherhood, Slow MassSLØTFACE, Kindling, Emma Ruth Randle, Looming, Divan, Sheer, Criminal Hygiene, Raury, Buzz Kull, Gothic Tropic, The Raveonettes, Scarlett Saunders, Banks & Steelz (ft. Kool Keith), Sharks Teeth, and Bueno. Additionally, there were full streams from Steve Adamyk Band, Eric Slick, Hollow Sunshine, and an entrancing music video from Massive Attack.

While all of those proved to be worthy titles, it’s Glueboy‘s sophomore full-length debut, Yikes, that earns this post’s featured spot. Following two promising releases, the band fully capitalizes on their potential and lets loose from the record’s onset with the fiery “Foot Soldier”. After a deceptive 40 second buildup, “Foot Soldier” takes off at full sprint and from that moment forward, Yikes never looks back.

Importantly — and largely thanks to the mixing and mastering team of Flagland‘s Nick Dooley and Big Ups‘ Amar Lal — this is the best Glueboy’s ever sounded on record. Following 2015’s impressive Videodrama EP, the band sounds revitalized, attacking every square inch of these songs with a newfound conviction. It’s a trait that’s evident from Yikes‘ opening run of songs and that sense of galvanization never wavers. Whether it’s guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Marty’s frantic, deeply-felt vocal work, bassist/vocalist Coby Chafets’ increasingly sharp lyric sets, or the additional sense of purpose that seems to have elevated Eli Sills’ drumming.

Everything clicks, congealing into a whirling dervish of a record that feels volatile and grounded simultaneously. Even when the band’s being boldly transparent in their influences (the vocal pattern and general construction of “Telescreen”, for example, is incredibly reminiscent of Titus Andronicus’ “Dimed Out“), there’s a genuine spark behind their playing that essentially erases any room for complaint. Helping matters along is that those moments are few and far between, allowing the rest of Yikes to firmly establish the band’s own singular identity.

Yikes also winds up benefiting from its members’ intrinsic musicality [disclosure: I lived with Chafets for half of 2015 and had several opportunities to join in jam sessions with all of the band’s members] and their comprehensive understanding of their chosen genre. Taken as a whole, the level of musicianship Marty, Chafets, and Sills imbue Yikes with is incredibly impressive, conjuring up levels of energy that oscillate but never come anywhere close to stagnancy.

Helping Yikes maintain its pace is the fact that only two of the songs eclipse the three minute mark, keeping things lively. Nearly every song in the collection comes in at a furious tempo, with the band seemingly intent on finding catharsis through destruction. Remarkably, the trio seems to actually achieve that goal at nearly every turn. Personal confessions, declarations, and half-buried desires litter Yikes‘ narrative landscape and breathe an additional level of life into the proceedings, coming to a climactic moment that serves as the record’s finale.

At the end of “Falling Down” everything finally threatens to go off the rails for good, splintering apart into near-chaos as the band lays seemingly everything on the line. Chafets (who trades vocal leads with Marty throughout the record) screams his larynx raw in the song’s closing passage, with the band around him erupting into a hardcore spree before cutting out abruptly. It’s an extraordinary ending to a record that should prove to be monumental to the band’s evolution as well as their reputation. Earnest, uncompromising, and endlessly fascinating, Yikes is more than just a much-needed jolt of pure basement pop adrenaline- it’s one of the year’s best surprises.

Listen to Yikes below and pick up a copy here.

Prison Whites – Deceiver (Stream)

prison whites

From the end of last week to the start of this week doesn’t exactly constitute a lot of time but it’s more than enough to ensure a heap of great new songs find release. A few of those songs were Little May’s gorgeous ambient pop masterclass “Seven Hours“, Loma Prieta’s vicious return to form in “Never Remember“, Psychic Blood’s bruising “Blur World“, and “Glasgow Coma Scale Blues“, the latest triumphant reunion track from The Libertines. Låpsley’s serene “Hurt Me“, Lushes’ cock-eyed “Circus” (which very nearly took this post’s featured spot), Longings’ compellingly bleak “Vacancy“, Palace Winter’s atmospheric “Menton“, and Terry’s gleefully off-kilter “Talk About Terry” topped off the short stretch’s haul in style. As great as all of those songs were, it was the lead-off single from Prison Whites’ forthcoming debut that hit hardest.

Clocking in at a time that starts to approach five minutes in length, “Deceiver” is the sound of a band who refuse to quit- which is odd, considering the band’s essentially just starting. Impressively, the trio never loses an ounce of the infectious energy of their ferocious basement pop attack. Armed with a serious amount of tenacity, a sugar-coated pop sensibility, and an unmistakably punk attitude and energy, Prison Whites have hit the ground at a fall sprint with no intention of looking back. What’s most impressive isn’t the band’s immediate sense of velocity but their consistency. They’ve somehow already managed to find their footing.

After two and a half minutes of some of the most explosive basement pop to emerge all year, the band dives headfirst into a bridge that creates some tension around their madness, only to have that tension steadily build back up into a frenzied hurricane of a final section. It’s expertly crafted, it feels concise despite its length, and its completely exhilarating. Manic and bloodthirsty, “Deceiver” is one of the most startling warning shots not just of 2015 but of recent memory. Don’t let this band out of your sight (and if you blink, prepare to find them miles ahead of where they just were). Fat Cat will be releasing the band’s tape at some point in the near future. Buy it as soon as it’s available.

Listen to “Deceiver” below and keep an eye on this site for more updates on the band.