Written by: TL on 12/04/2011 15:29:17

A little while ago, when I was reviewing The Vaccines, I made a comment about Glasvegas being one of the band's they were most similar to, secretly expecting that the upcoming sophomore album from the Glasgow quartet, titled "EUPHORIC /// HEARTBREAK \", would likely see the band change and turn my comparison upside down. Maybe I should've written that in the review instead of keeping it to myself, because that would have made me appear like some sort of wizard by now, seeing as the new album - which from hence will be referred to simply as "Euphoric Heartbreak" - does in fact see quite substantial development in Glasvegas' sound.

Basically, while the band was once similar to the likes of The Vaccines and Chapel Club, with their loftly tunes solidly anchored in the Glasgowian streets, "Euphoric Heartbreak" sees Glasvegas sever their anchor and set sail for a starlit realm of melodramatic grandeur, counting only greats like Coldplay, U2 and The Killers among its prior residents. Effectively, everything in the sound is sized up, with sparkling ambiance backing guitars that play melodies of faded noise, sitting atop mostly mid-tempo beats and grooves. At the center of it all is vocalist James Allan, who moans out unending torrents of emotion, in such a thick Scottish accent that even people who appreciate one such (see: me) often has a damn hard time understanding a word that's being sung.

In all honesty however, it soon becomes rather too much. Combined, the instruments and vocals are constantly drenched in more lofty pathos and melancholia than the Twilight movies. Whether the sound is lead by piano or guitar, it seems like Glasvegas has been too busy creating this whole tear-jerking soundscape, instead of remembering to built it around some lines or hooks that grasp the listener and makes the whole thing worthwhile. There are a few exceptions, mainly in "Lost Sometimes", which earns memorability via (over)usage of lyric-repetition, and "Euphoria, Take My Hand", the signature melody of which, while sounding a bit like Coldplay's "Life In Technicolour", is by far the strongest of the album.

Other than that though, "Euphoric Heartbreak" mostly reminds me of an Angels And Airwaves-type record, with the way it seems to spend too much time experimenting with its sound, instead of giving us listeners some well-written songs to relate to. Effectively, I dare say it's a record that, outside of the positive exceptions I've mentioned, is only occasionally enjoyable, and as I also commented when reviewing The Vaccines, this should go low on your list of brit-rock priorities, if you haven't already heard this year's offerings by the likes of Chapel Club and White Lies.


Download: Lost Sometimes; Euphoria, Take My Hand; Dream Dream Dreaming,
For The Fans Of: U2, Coldplay, The Killers

Release Date 04.04.2011
Sony Music

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