Published Oct 06, 2008I feel a little foolish writing about Glasvegas mainly because back in January when I was making my picks for the "Class of 2008" I didn't believe the hype saying they were the best new indie band in Britain. Well, only ten months later have I realized that all the UK rags that worshipped at the temple of Glasvegas were actually right.
I'm not sure what it was that turned me off them nine months ago - the 1950s "tough guy" image or maybe that horribly united name between their hometown of Glasgow and Sin City - but I've recently come to adore their recently released debut album, to the point where I'm not really listening to anything else (well, that and the fabulous Empire of the Sun LP).
Led by the thick and outright Glaswegian croon of songwriter/producer James Allan you can actually summarize the band with their MySpace-listed influences: Elvis Presley, Spectorism, 62 Lily Street and Creation Records. I can't really tell you what the significance of 62 Lily Street is, but it appears to be a building that they band may have squatted in. Dunno. The other three are obvious. Glasvegas have a fixation with the '50s and '60s, dressing themselves like a right biker gang (Allan sports a pompadour) and using original rock'n'roll rhythms, backing vocals and production that sound like everything from Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry, to Phil Spector's immaculate recordings and girl group dominance. Rehashing those times is nothing new, sure, but in the mix comes that Creation influence, where Allan and his brother Rab step on their pedals to add a distinct shoegaze sound with crystalline guitars chiming throughout. It's like they formed just for me.
Another embarrassment with Glasvegas for me is that I've chosen the song that I originally passed on. "Daddy's Gone" is their second single, originally released last November and voted second best of 2007 by NME. The slow, heart-beat and tambourine combo is lifted straight from Spector's work shaping the Ronettes, but instead of an 80-piece orchestra and multiple session musicians, the modest four-piece fill their sound with reverberating and shimmering guitar, sludgy bass and Allan's distinct phlegm (not unlike the ones you hear fronting fellow Scots the Twilight Sad and Frightened Rabbit), which can go from indistinguishable to dreamy in the roll of an "r," as he laments about a son abandoned by his father.
The Glasvegas album was released in September over in the UK via Columbia, however, no word has been given as to when it will see a North American release.