One of the hardest pills to swallow last year was the dissolution of LVL UP, a band that meant a lot to me and many others on a personal level. What helped ease the sadness that accompanied that announcement was that each of the band’s members would continue pursuing music through different outlets. Dave Benton’s Trace Mountains (which also features drummer Greg Rutkin) released the excellent A Partner To Lean On before 2018 was over, Nick Corbo followed suit with a single for his new project Spirit Was, and Mike Caridi began teasing material for his largely solo venture, The Glow.
Earlier this week, The Glow announced a debut album and released a pair of singles to stoke the anticipation for its release. Mission accomplished. Am I, due out May 24 on Double Double Whammy, will be comprised of two halves of songs. Reportedly, half of this incoming set was written when Caridi was 23 and LVL UP was in full bloom, with the other half being written much more recently, around the band’s end. Appropriately, “I Am Not Warm” — which has previously appeared as a demo — and “Weight of Sun”, offer a glimpse at each half.
Both songs run just past the 1:50 mark, falling very much in line with Caridi’s established tendencies of writing breezy basement pop songs with sticky melodies. Another dominant Caridi trademark’s present in the abundance of warm tones, creating impossibly lovely soundscapes. Where this new era of The Glow differs from the songwriter’s is in its expansiveness, which is evidenced in both the dynamic shifts present in each track. Whether it’s an abrupt break to a mournful piano outro or the continuously shifting nature of “Weight of Sun”, there’s a very real sense that Caridi’s world-building through composition.
“I Am Not Warm” and “Weight of Sun” constitute an incredibly impressive opening barrage from a reliably great songwriter looking to further a burgeoning legacy. Lose yourself in the deceptively elegant charms of each track and circle May 24 on the calendar. Early indicators are pointing towards that Friday being one worth celebrating.
Listen to “I Am Not Warm” and “Weight of Sun” below and pre-order Am I from Double Double Whammy here.