Gliss – [Album]

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Gliss is like the Petri dish lovechild of shoegaze greats, alternative rock fire-starters, maybe even some dancey hipster DJs and most definitely includes a dip in the gene pool of the psychedelic pop rock of the 1960s. In their latest release, Devotion Implosion, some tracks scream Pablo Honey while others stand as clear spawns of Psycho Candy with an overall adoption and simultaneous adaptation of Siamese Dream. Sprinkled with a little Crimson & Clover over and over, this sophomoric effort is a pleaser throughout for sure.

The Los Angeles-based band’s second full-length album is a sometimes brooding and sometimes blissful nugget of indie goodness. The album weighs heavily on reliably steady beats and appropriately static-ridden riffs punctuated by the hazy vocals of a dreamlike allure. Gliss, in itself, becomes a sort of umbrella act for the sort of musical style embraced by Krautrock bands of yore. Multi-instrumentalists Martin Klingman, David Reiss and Victoria Cecilia make full use of the genre’s musical tendencies in a neat 10-track odyssey through a seemingly drug-induced space of rootless time.

The album starts up strong and steady, motorik beat at the ready with “Morning Light.” The track, with its purposeful clumsiness mindfully finds its place, and then pushes off with a delightfully catchy drumbeat reminiscent of “Just Like Honey,” before diving headfirst into a welcome wall of sound. Weight resting against this seemingly impenetrable fortress of frequencies, the perpetual fuzz suddenly gives way to a pool of distorted guitar riffs, ethereal vocals and subtle harmonies. Left hanging off the breath of one droning note up to the very last second, this track is a clear vision of what’s to come.

“Sad Eyes” is an explosion of wailing guitars distorted to please and a new take on an old doo-wop staple. Channeling The Dandy Warhols in the Courtney Taylor-Taylor-like vox and that undeniably steady rocking beat, Gliss not only pays homage to a band of brothers and sisters in musical arms but present a new take on what they might be influenced by as well. Ultimately, “Sad Eyes” sounds anything but sad, probably akin to how Smashing Pumpkins’ “Quiet” was anything but quiet, really. The combination of dancey undertones makes this easily the most memorable track on the record.

Vocals are smooth throughout and an unassuming necessity to the album’s formula, tirelessly piercing through a tirade of droning distortion in a variety of tracks. In “Love Songs” they alternate seamlessly from the very glottal Tantric tempter of emotions to the innocent high pitch of naïveté in a love forlorn. All the while guitars purr and wail through pedals, amplifiers and sheer volume.

“Sister Sister” follows through as the final come-down, guitar licks stretching and bending to cut through a morning after haze. It’s dreamlike, unreal and lucid at the same time and fades with a mysterious outro leaving you not only wanting more, but satisfied with the newly enjoyed musical delicacy all at once.

Having taken my aural cravings by storm, Gliss has not only given us more fodder with which to fill our insatiable need for new music, but they’ve also been a welcome breath of fresh interactive media air. It seems they’ve got no official website to call their own and bank off MySpace Music promote their sound.

As a primary mode of Internet representation, the band holds quite true to their blog, complete with pictures and accompanying travel logs. Other than that, the band members pump their Twitter accounts with little quips—menial and earth-shattering alike. Tapping into their world like this really enhances the album listening experience. It seems they can do without the image of the unattainable superhuman musician of lore, giving their fans and followers the truth and humanity behind their sound. It makes listening to their tracks all the more wonderful.

It’s clear Gliss makes full use of a steady beat throughout the album and each track is a welcome trudge through a rather plasmatic wall of sound. It’s an all-encompassing love drug induced haze with vocals clearly in the throes of the pangs, joys and bewilderment of emotions abound. Amidst flirtatiously dancey tracks, fist air-pumping and body rocking kinds of songs, Gliss gives us Devotion Implosion to keep us happy until they return from touring across the pond and beyond. Until then, we have the sweet lull of tracks like “Sleep,” the hope of optimism in “Beauty” and the every appropriate grungy tonal explosion of yesteryear in “The Patrol” to keep us in a fervent daze of good music.


Devotion Implosion is out now – [Buy it on]

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