Let’s get the name-drop out of the way first: The Dying Seconds have already been the subject of some high praise from The National’s Aaron Dressner, despite their relative infancy as a band. Tthis may be their second album but it’s their first as an expanded six-piece line-up; the self-titled debut being the work of core duo David Cantan and Jack Quilligan. Glimmerers showcases a sound that retains their interest in evocative, low-key electronics but combines those aspects with a more widescreen dynamic and dramatic approach.
It’s maybe a little too easy to make a connection with The National, but the resemblances are there: whether on dark, vaguely sinister-sounding tracks like ‘Mora Minn’ or on the sparse, forlorn-sounding atmospherics of ‘Greenhorns’. Even the warmth-in-wintertime imagery of ‘Kid Logic’ nods to similar lyrical phrases (on Boxer’s ‘Apartment Story for one), while Cantan’s wavering-but-welcoming baritone completes the aesthetic similarity. Having influences is no crime however (and while we’re at it, there are hints of Arcade Fire, Tindersticks and Efterklang in there as well): most of the songs on Glimmerers are strong enough to stand out on their own terms.
The exquisite melancholy of ‘Lavender’ opens the album with mournful piano, subtle electronic touches and gently insistent harmonies; it’s followed by the already-familiar ‘Mora Minn’, irresistibly swelling towards its percussion-heavy climax. ‘Rubbernecks’ is a delightfully off-kilter number with disorientating strings and understatedly catchy vocal hooks, while ‘Tox’ is a shoegaze-like wash of elegiac tones and wordless vocals. The only real misfire is the frenzied wall-of-noise that ‘Ceramic’ ushers in, but it’s soon forgiven when followed by the stripped-back, understated album closer ‘All In The Dark’. Overall then, it’s clear that The Dying Seconds’ expanded line-up has gone hand-in-hand with a confident step-up to another level: Glimmerers is an excellent record that combines the broodingly intense with the warmly melodic.