Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Glassjaw - Coloring Book

There's a new Glassjaw EP? Nobody tells me anything anymore. Even Hollyann didn't know about this, and she's one of those crazy Head Automatica fans. Well, shit. This is pretty awesome, and gives me something worthwhile to focus my hearing on an hour. I mean, not that I wasn't handling that with watching It's Always Sunny...because I was completely content with that too. But, I have to "work" every once and a while, and since what I consider "work" to be, in this case, is listening to the new Glassjaw EP...I think I'll survive it, dudes.

For those of you who aren't in the know, Glassjaw is a punk band that formed in Long Island way back in 1993, and have ruled faces ever since. The singer, Daryl Palumbo, also has this other band, which is this power pop/awesome-as-fuck band called Head Automatica. He's also in high demand for guest appearances, and has performed on tracks for like every band...yet resorts to having guest appearances in Automatica songs by people like Tim Armstrong; talk about wasting all those connections, bro. Glassjaw took a four-year hiatus in order for Daryl was writing and recording material with Automatica, but came back in 2008 to start their face ruling all over again. And one of these efforts in this endless routine of face-rulling, is this new Coloring Book EP.

The drums for this record have this really ambient sound to their recording, and carry this weird reggae dub feel at times. It's pretty good at being weird, while not coming off as awkward. All the songs on this album blend together to share this same kind of weird feel, which I don't know if I'm entirely comfortable with. It's kind of like when your mom remarries and your stepdad is a cool guy, but there's still something weird about him being around all the time. And going to your dad's becomes the same because he remarries as well. That kind of feeling, except musical. The vocals are heavy with emotion and expansive with range, which is to be expected with Daryl. This album definitely sounds like a Glassjaw record, but it also sounds completely different at the same time. This is a valiant effort, because releasing the same shit over and over again just makes you Screeching Weasel, and that also means you punch girls at hipster festivals. And nobody wants to be THAT GUY, you know?

The first song "Black Nurse" seamlessly creeps into the second song "Gold", and it continues in this manner throughout the record. You start to feel like your life is being soundtracked by Glassjaw, and you're pretty sure you're supposed to doing some Jason Bourne type shit, and by not doing so, you're letting down everyone who is watching your life on TV. Maybe I have some sort of Max Bemis delusion of a Truman Show reality, though, and you should just ignore my comparison here.

THIS IS DRIVING MUSIC, DUDE. That's what I just thought about while listening to this shit. But, to be honest, if I started driving while listening to this stuff, I'd start changing lanes out of nowhere, and doing Fast and Furious maneuvers into Speedway parking lots and meeting eyes with strangers in sedans. It would also have to be at night, and in Chicago, but less congested, maybe.

"Vanilla Poltergeist Snake" sounds like some low-key Head Automatica shit, Daryl. quit trying to confuse us. Decide what band you're working on, and stick to it. Don't import ideas you had for Automatic and then half-ass translate them into post-punk efforts. You won't get any of this past me; I can hear your synths and I know what they're up to, Palumbo.

While all of these songs are really interesting, and shit I wouldn't be able to make ever, it still strikes as too boring for me at times. Maybe it's the fact that only one emotion is really conveyed throughout this release, and that's melancholy. These songs are somber and only relate to low tides and bad vibes, and maybe only fit in my life during like a driving scene where I'm supposed to process something sad that just occurred in a previous scene or phone call. The point is, I don't think it's something I can jam to 9 out of 10 times, because when I'm sad I generally tend to wallow in uplifting music, not this stuff.

The end result of this listening experience, is this:

It's a 27.9 minute song that is half-assedly separated into different track titles, and it isn't called The Decline, so it doesn't pass for much in my book. It's interesting, and it sounds cool, but it's nothing that will rock your socks or take your daughter out to prom. So in the hardcore, fast-pace world of Idle and the Bear, it hardly as a place. Sorry, Glassjaw (and Hollyann), but I'm going to say this is like a 5 or 6 out of 10.


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