Review Summary: So much said in such little time..
Glassjaw. The band people love to wait for.
If you don’t mind, I'm going to be blunt: I’ve grown out of Glassjaw. They were one of my favorite bands during my teenage years, and I have fond memories with them. I was lucky enough to see GJ on the Warped Tour in 2003 as a casual onlooker, and immediately fell in love. They were the last band to play, and the sun was coming down after a long, hot day. They were stellar. Something about the backdrop of an orange sky and hearing "Must've Run All Day" for the first time left a profound impact on me, and a friend I was with. We both immediately got Worship and Tribute
, and became fanboys. But as usual with me, I wanted more. Two albums and a few EPs just wasn’t enough. I figured in a few years time we'd see a new album, so no worries.
Its been nine years since a new album, and here I am. My tastes have drifted off into unusual territory, and the thought of a new recording by GJ just didn’t have that spark it once would. But, of course I was going to go ahead and get the new material anyway. Now, mind you I'm still being blunt here, and I have to admit that this new music is something quite special. With very little expectation coming in, I came out on a stretcher.
As a whole, Coloring Book
is a dense, dark piece of work. One can tell that the band fine-combed this selection of songs to make it a layered, tight set of musical landscapes. On this EP, Glassjaw have successfully thrown out the rule book on what makes a Glassjaw song, and the blueprints within create a sonic brew, which is funny considering Our Color Green
carries the trademark GJ sound a bit more cohesively. It all makes more sense that the band opted to release separate sets of songs from each other. Considering their tendency to be perfectionists, I personally have given them a slide on the wait since the music is so good.
Right off the bat, one notices the extreme change in sound on “Black Nurse”, a murky opener with a wonderful performance by Daryl Palumbo. The track is rich in depth, and Palumbo only adds to the mix to create a profound opener that makes the listener scratch their heads in blissful confusion. The same accolades is only appropriate for the next song, “Gold”, a track that genuinely rips with an unusual structure, and an even more unusual chorus. Justin Beck’s use of synths on this track really shines, and the end result is a an eclectic workout in experimentation.
Durijah Lang really impresses on “Vanilla Poltergeist Snake”, a track that is simply impossible to put into words. If this makes sense, imagine Portishead with more guitars. Palumbo delivers a performance that strangely mirrors Beth Gibbons, and here the end result is something along the lines of "Ambient Metal", a genre I created on the spot to accommodate Glassjaw’s triumphant eclecticism. “Miracle in Inches” actually delivers in feet, while “Stations of The New Cross” deserves a round of applause. Here we have a mellow little tune that wouldn’t sound out of place on Worship and Tribute
. The song is a down-tempo masterpiece that slowly moves along by Palumbo’s impassioned vocals, and Beck’s chugging, melancholy guitars.
“Daytona White” truly ends this EP well. By far the most experimental song, it utilizes space to create such a blue atmosphere, something Miles Davis became famous for. The keyboards are a beautiful, lush key in making this song what it is. It’s easy to get lost in the music, even when half-way through they decide to step up the heaviness just a tad to wake the listener up. Even as I personally write this, I’m stopping every couple seconds to take the music in, and appreciate the beauty this band has created.
At 25 years of age, I look back at my teenage years with smiles. I’m the type of person that links certain albums to memories. When I hear a song from my younger years, I get very nostalgic, and quite mushy. Glassjaw’s earlier stuff is no exception. So while I’ve grown up to bills, and never-ending problems of early adulthood, I always appreciate a good song to help me through the day. Not only has Glassjaw delivered the goods, they’ve completely made me fall in love with their music again after so many years of honest neglect. I’m truly, truly impressed with this collection of songs, and I cant wait to listen to them again. Perhaps I’m being over-bearing here, or maybe after a while the new music will begin to wane. Whatever the case may be, GJ has touched upon magic in my opinion, and it was worth the wait. While I continue to grow and face life’s obstacles, I’m happy to know that the band has grown as well, and will continue to.