Echo The Hollow, a review of The Gus Glynn Band’s upcoming album
The Gus Glynn group have been a staple of the Northwestern music scene for quite some time now, having built a following (and reputation) for their unwavering approach and library of cutting edge pop songs. With echoes (no pun intended) of Elvis Costello and The Attractions, The Bluetones and James’ Tim Booth among others, the band released their last offer, recorded and mixed by Mike Bennett at FoxHound Studios in leafy Cheshire.
Getting straight to serious business, they opened their booth with some intention, opening the album with ‘Natalie,’ a perfect hymn to (seemingly) meaningful love. The arrangement is tight, as is the band, delivering a punchy pop song (a term I will come back to several times during this review I think) with a lot of bite (yes, I know, that rhymes … understand me) . It’s definitely a single. It’s crisp, precise and the subtly shiny outro made me smile.
They then give us time to regroup while cradling us in a slightly more relaxed setting, allowing the “light to shine on me” in the outro of “Letting the Light”. Here, the group transmits something more “late night” in an old smoky room. You know the one, back then with couples seated at dimly lit tables and the band stalled on the stage in the corner, adapted and slightly disheveled, cuddling sounds of vintage equipment and waiting for the night to end and payout. final.
That smoke and Cohen-like “sighs” are soon dissipated as the more grungy “wormholes” appear. This features a key tribal drum pattern (provided by the right Simon Cornes on the kit) that anchors the track, giving the slightly fifties leaf of Gus’ guitar part a nicely contrasting bed. This guitar treatment is repeated in the bridge of the song and is clearly diffused in the solo at the end of the song for great effect.
‘Karma Kings’ makes us all slightly Japanese with another aggressive drum part, working in tandem with both guitars. Pete Attwood covers the bass in the band and in this track his choice of part leaves the beat foolproof and allows Gus to play solo without any loss of forward movement.
There is no respite here as with the push through the scantily arranged pop-punk-punch (try saying this after a thimble of absinthe) of ‘No Zone’ (with no coloring outside the s lines). ‘please), then on to a thoughtful pause, where soft brakes are applied and we are driven into the lower and sincere “Undone” key. The straightforward treatment of the guitar and vocals at the start, coupled with the rest of the band’s addition later in the song, results in an outwardly understated, yet skillfully executed song.
Then a slight left turn brings us to the scorching country blues feel of ‘Old Songs’ where Gus can stretch his guitar chops a bit more, delivering a painfully amorous, pathos-full number. The recording and mixing really stood out on this, evoking a smoky (again), personal and almost ‘woody’ feel to the track which perhaps says a lot about the room it was captured in.
The band may be referring to a fallback period on “Old Songs” and in the lyrics of that song, one would assume that they experienced “Heady Love”. Without calling for ‘more cowbell’, this taught and insistent song reminds us once again of the band’s style and their consummate acuteness. This sensation continues through the deliberately lyrical offhand “Wash Your Million Dollars” and the curtain is ready for the album’s title track.
‘Echo the Hollow’ is another fully formed single, with perfect bounce, a heart-wrenching guitar solo, and a strong melody. It even provides the oft-regretted chorus, although one can assume that the band did not set out to write it that way.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this didn’t become a live staple demanded by their fans. It’s a great set closer to being ‘up all night’ as it is and presents the listener with a definitely adept and accomplished pop package.
It is difficult to follow such a strong track and placing songs in albums is a delicate art and very poorly understood. You can either try tapping the similar vein (and prepare for failure eventually) or look for an alternate seam (the path of least resistance). In this case, the band gets away with success with the airy ‘Northern Soul’ with its catchy melody surrounded by narrative lyrics. It’s subtle and understated and maybe that’s why it has become one of my favorite songs on the LP.
‘Moving’ on from the North, we’re getting closer to the albums and my absolute favorite, ‘Nobody Sayin’. This is not what we were offered at the beginning, it is somewhat melancholy and sweeter than the group singles of “Natalie” and “Echo the Hollow”, but this way we find ourselves. with a soft and perfect end point. It’s the rail that, without fuss, turns off the lights and closes the door behind you.
And with that I can say you’d better go see the band live for more of the same and maybe ask them if ‘Nobody Sayin’ could be put on set tonight, just to satiate a reviewer. sitting in the back behind the brick pillar feeding a lemonade.