Glasvegas – EUPHORIC /// HEARTBREAK \\\

written by: April 20, 2011
Release Date: April 4, 2011


Scotland is typically hit-or-miss when it comes to producing good indie bands. The Fratellis’ debut was all kinds of fun, fulls of catchy riffs and charmingly vulgar lyrics, but their sophomore album was lacking. Franz Ferdinand is still a borderline shallow band that doesn’t offer much aside from their radio-friendly material. Glasvegas’ new album, EUPHORIC /// HEARTBREAK \\\, is solid, but doesn’t stand out as strong.

The songs cover a moderate amount of musical ground, never really taking any chances. But what the band did attempt was generally successful. The album, an angsty and longing form of fuzzy British rock mixed with ’80s pop, successfully details the lead singer’s struggles.

This is the band’s sophomore album, as well as their first release since tracking down lead singer James Allan in New York City after he’d gone missing in 2009.

Allan’s mysterious absence aside, EUPHORIC /// HEARTBREAK \\\ is completely underwhelming, but not for a lack of effort. The band tries its hand at a few different genres, primarily electronica and noise rock, but they all end up melding together in a 47 minute-long pity party with heavily distorted guitars, obnoxiously simple drum beats and vastly disappointing bass lines.

On EH, Glasvegas sounds haggard and lazy throughout its 11 tracks. The album slugs from song to song with such listless malaise that it’s a wonder it was even finished.

Perhaps what’s most frustrating about the album, though, is its wasted potential. In every whiny lyric, Allan’s talent for songwriting briefly rears its head, only to recess back into his depressed psyche.

The same can be said for the guitars, drums and bass. All are simple to such a degree that at times it’s hard to imagine why the band got signed in the first place. But peppered in every other song or so is a particular drum fill or guitar riff that triggers the thought, “Well maybe this isn’t so bad after all.” This, in effect, tricks the listener into listening more.

There is little to celebrate about EH, other than it existing. But why should the listener be happy for an album when the band itself sounds completely flat and uninspired throughout it? Not to say Glasvegas is arrogant in any way, but the band can’t reasonably expect an audience to take this album seriously when throughout the collection of songs the band itself doesn’t sound like it gives a shit.

Sophomore slumps are a common occurrence in music releases, and it’s entirely possible the band felt too much pressure after their debut was received so well. One can only hope for a stronger effort in the future, but the group is young and has time to get it together. Better luck next time.

Glasvegas – EUPHORIC /// HEARTBREAK \\\ Tracklist:

  1. “Pain Pain, Never Again”
  2. “The World Is Yours”
  3. “You”
  4. “Shine Like Stars”
  5. “Whatever Hurts You Through The Night”
  6. “Stronger Than Dirt (Homosexuality, Pt. 2)”
  7. “Dream Dream Dreaming”
  8. “I Feel Wrong (Homosexuality, Pt. 1)”
  9. “Euphoria, Take My Hand”
  10. “Lots Sometimes”
  11. “Change”