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Posted on June 20th, 2014 (8:00 am) by Nick Manai

With the release of their fourth proper LP, A Sunny Day in Glasgow are emerging as one of the most steadfast and reliable examples of indie shoegaze, continuously committing themselves to their brand of My Bloody Valentine-esque screeching noise recorded with the juvenile perplexity of Belle and Sebastian. If those two names stand out as contrasts to you, consider Belle and Sebastian were constantly reliving lazy afternoons listening to The Velvet Underground (sometimes with life-sized models made of clay!) a band known not only for “After Hours” and “Sunday Morning,” but “White Light White Heat” and “Sister Ray” by equal measure.

But where many bands since the Velvet Underground have juxtaposed their more innocent codas next to red hot guitar fuzz, A Sunny Day in Glasgow have kept improving themselves as one of the better examples of a band committed, or lazy, enough to smash the two together, confident that two rights can’t make a wrong.

And for the most part they’ve been right these past eight years or so. Sea When Absent's opener "Bye, Bye Big Ocean (The End)" slops up enough sonic sludge to eschew one of their most beautiful choruses into a continual loop of guitar and synth feedback. The angelic vocals are reminiscent of Chairlift’s ethereal pop, and soar higher and higher, continually juggling the vales of noise and beauty in a dizzying blend.

“Crushin” takes a simple synth interplay that finds the group utilizing their instruments to create softer rhythmic intonations letting the song slip into a groovy ballad reminiscent of Dirty Projectors vocal play. “The Things They Do to Me” injects a little more adrenaline back into the system, but increases the feeling of the lofty falsetto vocals crying out, “talk to me / talk to me.”

Like many albums that layer their hooks and slow their vocals to a crawl behind fuzzy chords, a casual listen through Sea When Absent might reveal nothing. Maybe you’ll coming away tapping along to that rhythm that seemed like it could have been a Ten Thousand Maniacs bootleg if it had sat in a wet basement for a couple of years. Maybe you’ll remember the first time you heard the alien guitars on Loveless or wrestled through the extended anti-solos of Daydream Nation. But the more time you spend with A Sunny Day in Glasgow the more you notice the mid-tempo switch of "Never Nothing (It’s Alright [It’s Ok])" or how the “Thriller” style synths of "Oh, I’m a Wrecker (What to Say to Crazy People)" continuously pull on the drums from underneath. Four albums later A Sunny Day in Glasgow are proving that even after extended delays in recording and reshuffling band members, they are finding new ways to layer their songs with hidden excitement, even they will reaffirm their refusal to step out from their shoegaze ethics.

Track List:

  1. Bye Bye, Big Ocean (The End)
  2. In Love With Useless (The Timeless Geometry in the Tradition of Passing)
  3. Crushin’
  4. MTLOV (Minor Keys)
  5. The Things They Do to Me
  6. Boys Turn Into Girls (Initiation Rites)
  7. Never Nothing (It’s Alright [It’s Ok])
  8. Double Dutch
  9. The Body, It Bends
  10. Oh, I’m a Wrecker (What to Say to Crazy People)
  11. Golden Waves
A Sunny Day in Glasgow: Sea When Absent
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

73 / 100
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