Glass the Sky, Glass the Sky
It’s funny, but Glass the Sky’s self-titled debut EP manages to pull of a neat trick, against all odds. Over the course of six tracks, the band does an impressive balancing act, teetering on the line between serious and playful, and they make it work in both worlds.
And best of all, they’re smart as hell either way. Singer/guitarist Eric Lungstrum’s lyrics are poetic without getting overly pretentious, intense without any emo weepiness, and they mesh damn near perfectly with the often low-key, subtle instrumentation. Music-wise, Glass the Sky makes me think of Canadians Ketch Harbour Wolves (especially on watery/wavery-sounding opener “Indian Leaf”), or Houston’s own Holy Fiction — all three bands are melancholy yet gorgeous, crafting these earnest, almost serene melodies and arrangements that are delicate and subtle but never dull.
Then there’s “Koi Pawned,” which veers over into the “playful” side of things with a bumping, thoughtful, sly-smiling melody and irresistible beat; I freaking love how the beat just bounces along, Peter Bjorn & John-style, with drummer Matthew Kelly’s simple-yet-perfect rhythms driving things forward. There’s a hint of dreampop shimmer in the guitars, too, a nod backwards to The Jesus & Mary Chain and their contemporaries. It’s sweet and evocative and warm, despite the literal coldness of the song’s subject, and I just can’t stop listening.
Things get back to the serious side for “Earthquake,” where the male/female vocal interplay between Lungstrum and keyboardist/clarinetist/singer Erin Rodgers makes me think again of Holy Fiction, albeit welded onto a song structure that owes quite a bit to Sting’s more somber efforts. Then there’s “Stereoface,” which starts off quiet and deliberate and rides a downcast undercurrent throughout, with Lungstrum seemingly warning that while you can see both sides for now, that state of things won’t last.
“Holiday” sees Glass the Sky in a more straight-up rocking light, exploding into a surprisingly fiery, impassioned anthem that’s simultaneously oblique and intent. The song reminds me of Ambassadors’ “Falls,” primarily because both songs have that same defiant roar; when Lungstrum howls out, “‘I miss you the most’ / Said the flame to the matchbook,” it’s all I can do to keep from pumping my fist at the ceiling. Whichever side of their musical personality Glass the Sky opts to go for, yeah, I’m good with it.
(Feature photo by Anthony Rathbun.)