It’s always a risk putting one of the better songs at the head of the album, on the one hand, you’ll want to immediately grab the attention of the listener with your finest chops, and on the other, you might need it as a saving grace in the middle of the album, or as a rescisutant of some sort somewhere. Ordering your songs in an album can be tricky like this, full of calculations and scenarios. So how did Glenarvon go about this delicate matter? Let’s see.
First things first, this is an album of amazing production value. Cohesive, expansive and accurate are the words I found again and again in my head as I listened. The instrument sounds are cohesive and always in relation, the drums and soundscapes are expansive and roomy, and the delicate details such as the amount of overdrive over certain guitar parts are accurately dialed in. The writing, too, is top-notch. Here and there you’ll find elements in the composition that are adventurous and exciting without ever sounding forced.
Coming to talk about the meat and potatoes of the record, after having established both the songwriting and the production as top-notch… the songs. This project features 10 songs and runs at a mild 30 minutes of length, a suitable length. The album kicks off with Roche (Bad Blood). With a gigantic bass line and a great drum part that plays along the changes and adds to the melodic nature of the song not less than the vocals or the guitars. featuring also a dazzling flute and a processed strings section, It’s a masterfully put together song that’s a great starter and my personal favorite. Song 2, ‘Don’t Ask For Too Much, Dear’ introduces us to a staple mood for the entire record; Slow, lulling and looming melodies and bass lines coupled with simple yet efficient drums all covered with a layer of healthy room reverb. ‘Ephemera’ is a song that puts in mind all of Nirvana, Porcupine Tree & Opeth. A melodic motif on the guitar drives the song onwards. The singing is heartfelt and the vocal melodies are fresh and unpredictable. A highlight is the solo, which is seemingly recorded in the same take with the guitar motif mentioned above, the effect is smooth and binds the different guitar parts together harmoniously. A song that’s the result of years of experience. ‘I Don’t Believe In Man’ is a song full of relatively gentle Punk and relatively angsty Funk. Personal lyrics and Anthemic beats along great singing chops make for one of the more energetic and driving tunes on here. ‘I Wanna Give You My Love’ displays Glenarvon pulling off his best Elvis pants as he gives us a modern country song with a twist.
Song 6, ‘I’m In The Same Spot Again’, is a startling blend of Nirvana’s grungy riffs and rhythms and Porcupine Tree’s smooth singing and sensibilities. ‘Not The Way Things Are’ features an amazing rhythm guitar and bass parts that have a certain RHCP quality that’s most welcome, again with delicate singing and personal lyrics. The waltzing rhythms of ‘Rarely In A Moment’ are a nice change of pace. It also picks up near the end to full-on anthem mode with a hypnotic synth line and gentle back vocals. ‘Touch Her Again’ is pure Nirvana for the modern day… angsty singing and lulling composition with driving drums and riffs and howling synths. The last song is a personal one about memories Glenarvon has of his grandpa, a nice conclusion to a greatly smooth and eloquent listen.
The NYC native Glenarvon has been wanting to put together an album like this since he was 14, and I’m glad he took all the time he needed to get honed enough to provide us with a product of this quality, soul, and love. Making an album inspired by a band that’s been disbanded for 2-and-a-half decades never sounded so fresh, elegant, and modern.