fri 03/12/2021

Album: Glasvegas - Godspeed | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Glasvegas - Godspeed

Album: Glasvegas - Godspeed

Big Glasgow music finds its heart in quieter moments

Glasvegas deal in hyper-emotion, personal dramas playing out in Spectoresque caverns of sound.

Their signature songs, “Daddy’s Gone” and “I’m Gonna Get Stabbed”, wrung wrenching feeling from singer Jamie Allan, melodramatic blood and heat pulsing through his Glasgow tragedies, which pierced the sky and hearts from a root of dour realism. It was a place Springsteen and Strummer had been before, dirtied by the fuzz of The Jesus and Mary Chain, and elevated by worship of early Elvis.

Making this fourth album was, though, more prosaically wearing. Godspeed’s studio was Allan’s spare room, making these almost literally kitchen-sink epics as he worked for seven years towards recording self-sufficiency. Glasvegas are thus finally insulated from the major label whims which saw them dropped when the apparent formula for a major career failed, and their Mercury-nominated, platinum-selling, self-titled debut’s success fell away. Ambition remains vaulting, in Godspeed’s conceptual panorama of a single fated night, from a parking lot to a prostitute on her beat.

Allan’s guitar-synth conjures the chill winds of a concrete dystopia, before the grimy Pet Shop Boys riffs of “Dive”, like back-alley Hi-NRG, then Suicide conversely raised to cathedral grandeur. “Shadows they come,” he sings, aching and yearning already. Surf guitar twangs in prelude to the rumbling urgency of sympathetic junkie’s lament “Dying to Live”, the protagonist pleading: “I wish you could see me blowing this kiss/Don’t forget about me, don’t remember me like this.” “Shake the Cage (Für Theo)” is a spoken-word litany then foregrounding Glasvegas’s bonds with Irvine Welsh and co-manager Alan McGee, like a last battalion of Creation’s endorphin-rushing regiments, still scaling battlements towards the biggest sound.

Side Two dials down the relentless, pained passion, slowing and quietening as “My Body’s a Glasshouse (A Thousand Stones Ago)” imagines a prostitute’s thoughts. “My ankles, my clothes, my knees on the floor,” she recites, as if dissected, till Allan’s voice becomes a wordless squall, and heartbeat drums cease. There’s real love for this woman, an urge for redemption from a broken place characteristic of Glasvegas. The European acoustic guitar on the carnivalesque waltz of “Stay Lit”, which seems to enact a Catholic psychic purging, is another spare step back from sometimes self-defeating, pounding maximalism. All Gothic organ and dank regret, “Cupid’s Dark Disco” details a furtive extra-marital assignation in which the man’s mind wanders to his wife and kids, and serial killer vibes creep through the car-seat fumbles. The shoddy sadness of this night-time world counters Glasvegas’s bombast. Allan’s voice of kind truth is the kernel of their vaulting music.

They're like a last battalion of Creation’s endorphin-rushing regiments, still scaling battlements towards the biggest sound

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Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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