Thu, Jan 15, 2009 (midnight)
A clever name is about the only novel thing about Glasvegas, the latest U.K. band to earn rapturous praise from fans and press alike. Formed in late 2003, the Scots have earned two Top 20 U.K. singles and opened shows for Echo & The Bunnymen—in spite of songwriting devoid of originality and sophistication.
“S.A.D. Light” expresses longing by employing a clumsy metaphor about the lamps used to combat the winter blues, which means we get wince-worthy lines like “Seasons change in a gothic way.” “Daddy’s Gone,” a song full of vitriol and guilt directed at an absent father, comes off as juvenile. And the amorphous, Phil Spector-influenced “Flowers and Football Tops” describes the aftermath of a son’s death from the perspective of a mother—with the affectation too detached and unrealistic (i.e., “My baby is six feet under/Just another number”) to be effective.
The fact that “Flowers” cribs “You Are My Sunshine” at the end is also symptomatic of the album’s lack of originality; diluted versions of Doves’ dreamy Brit-pop, The Twilight Sad’s youthful angst and Joy Division’s bleak pianoscapes emerge alongside the many reverb-coated Wall of Sound homages. Only “Go Square Go” and “Geraldine” triumph, the former thanks to swaggering guitar bravado and the latter on the strength of chiming melodies, falsetto coos and a gotcha! lyrical twist at the end.