Published Jul 15, 2016Not to be confused with the experimental drone project of the same name, Year of Glad are a spunky, peppy punk rock band out of Philadelphia. I Don't Know Where I Am Either, the four-piece's sophomore EP, is a faithful tribute to '90s alternative, even if it doesn't push the needle much.
The EP's first track, "Green," is also its best, boasting sun-soaked guitar riffs and a rollicking rhythm section reminiscent of Green Day's best work. The track also brings Year of Glad's most potent weapon to the fore: the gloriously nasal croon of Mimi Gallagher. Her voice recalls the '90s at their snotty best, equal parts Kim Deal and Tom DeLonge. It's got its fair share of sweetness with a touch of bite, like a spiked glass of lemonade on a hot day.
Gallagher shares lead vocal duty with Chris Diehm, who has a rather serviceable Thurston Moore rasp, but lacks the dynamism of his partner. It's no surprise, then, that I Don't Know Where I Am Either fares best on tracks like the aforementioned "Green" and "Keeping a Peace," songs that bring Gallagher to the fore.
Unfortunately, like a lot of bands these days, Year of Glad seem unable to add anything substantial sonically or lyrically to their '90s influences. This is most egregious on their throwaway cover of Pearl Jam's "Corduroy," which is pleasant enough but adds almost nothing to the original, save for a passable guitar solo. Likewise, without Gallagher's winning leads, "Smoke Whips" sputters and feels longer than its 2:30 runtime, like a Sonic Youth cut gone stale.
On I Don't Know Where I Am Either, Year of Glad have proven that they can mine '90s nostalgia with the best of them, providing crunching riffs and catchy vocals galore, even if they lack the distinctness and identity that defined their predecessors. It's not impossible to put out a '90s indebted record in 2016 and remain unique — just ask Car Seat Headrest — so while Year of Glad have figured what they want to do on this EP, they haven't quite figured out who they want to be. Luckily, there's plenty of time for that. (Lame-O Records)