According to most of the outside world, we should all be madly in love with Glasvegas. In the face of such hyperbole, it’s hard not to recoil – especially as soon as that hoary old ‘new Oasis’ phrase rears its ugly head. Rest assured, Glasvegas are not the new Oasis, nor do they appear to have any desire in that direction. Still it’s enough to get Alan McGee excited. The news on their self-titled debut, however, is all good. These lads are the business.
There is, no, nothing new under the sun and Glasvegas wear certain influences on their jet black sleeves. Even their look (sunglass wearing singer, stand-up drummer), to say nothing of their sound, screams Jesus & Mary Chain. The combination of melody and menace that the Reid brothers explored is perfected here, resulting in a set of songs that would easily grace daytime radio if it wasn’t for a couple of things – the lyrical content, swearing, loud guitars, James Allan’s thick accent, that sort of thing. All of which means that Glasvegas are never going to cross over a la Kaiser Chiefs or Arctic Monkeys but does result in one of the best debuts of the year.
Their timing is perfect, for all the wrong as well as the right reasons. As the UK finds itself facing a violent youth crime crisis, the album opens with a mother learning of her son’s murder. The laughs don’t stop there. Tales of absent fathers, stabbings, paranoia and bullying abound. It is, though, a strangely uplifting record. ‘Geraldine’ is a fine case in point, the story of a social worker that somehow makes your heart sing. As do Glasvegas themselves, delight at the fact that behind the hype is a real band some eight years in the making who have turned in a considered, well-crafted record that will live on long after the chatter has died down.