Glasvegas
Euphoric Heartbreak


3.0
good

Review

by Ali CONTRIBUTOR (131 Reviews)
April 27th, 2011 | 16 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An album that maintains the Scots glowing reputation, yet one that disappoints in equal measure.

We’ve all seen it before, the music press latching onto an up and coming band like an excited leech, instantly hailing their tiny body of work as genius and declaring the band themselves as the future of music. Given the unfounded hysteria surrounding their every move, it perhaps should come as no surprise that the majority of these acts disappoint, but there are nevertheless a select few who do actually live up to their billing and end up delivering something special. This was the case in 2008 when, amid a hurricane of hype, Glasvegas unleashed their self titled debut album to almost universal acclaim from UK fans and critics alike. It wasn’t a perfect record – a handful of weaker tracks in the latter half prevented it from being the classic it could, and possibly should, have been – but it was one that captured countless hearts with it’s wounded tales of love, loss and dispair, which virtually anyone who has lived can relate to. Moreover, in a nation that is fiercly proud of it’s musical heritage, it catapulted them so far that some even suggested that they were destined to be Britain’s next great band, and subsequent releases would only prove as much.

The three years since haven’t exactly been plain sailing; they lost drummer Caroline McKay, and frontman James Allan endured a tough time following an addiction to animal tranquilisers, but the expectations of many that they will conquer greatness have been left unmarked. And second time around, they’ve again done enough to justify such lauding... but this time only just.

The first, and perhaps most important thing to say about the perplexingly titled 'EUPHORIC /// HEARTBREAK \' is that it is not an album to convert doubters. All of the band’s trademark turn-offs remain, from the arguably overwrought wall of sound to James Allan’s gratuitously Scottish drawl, and all of them have been magnified in a way that will delight fans and rile haters. This heightened scale is shown on 'Eurphoria, Take My Hand,' which effectively recalls the magic that their debut had in abundance. That’s not to say that it’s all more of the same, though, as new drummer Jonna Löfgren undoubtedly adds a new dimension to their sound with her prowess behind the kit, which relative to the hapless McKay seems positively superhuman. Bonham she is not, but her presence nevertheless brings a sense of urgency which culminates wonderfully on 'The World Is Yours' and 'Shine Like Stars,' where the band up the tempo in a manner previously unseen from them.

But while these moments are undoubtedly special, 'EUPHORIC…' all too often lacks the golden touch of its predecessor, and that at times is its undoing. At their best, Glasvegas shine in spite of their flaws, not because of them, and this shows in the album’s monotonous mid-section, where the magic that had previously plastered over the cracks is all but absent. That’s not to say that the songs which constitute it are unlistenable – they’re certainly no worse than 'Ice Cream Van' from the last album – but they’re tedious in the extreme, meandering on and on without ever threatening to take an exciting turn. The record starts well, and thankfully picks up towards its conclusion, but by that time the damage has already been done, and the painfully pretentious spoken word closer which features Allan’s mother ensures that the record departs on a similarly sour note.

It’s a shame, really, because the best moments on 'EUPHORIC…' are more than enough to justify the band’s glowing reputation, and alone should repute any claims that they’ve lost their zest. Despite this, it’s a record that’s more likely to bring about a backlash than see them elected as legends and with the British media’s cut-throat tendencies their stock may well fall. Luckily for them, though, this album provides a safety net that is just about strong enough to break the fall. It mightn’t be the masterpiece many had hoped for, but it does at least prove that Glasvegas are capable of raising sparks, and that given enough fuel in the future their fire may yet ignite fully.



Recent reviews by this author
The Twilight Sad Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To LeaveKing Creosote From Scotland With Love
RM Hubbert First and LastWithered Hand New Gods
The Twilight Sad Live at Paisley AbbeyStephen Malkmus Wig Out At Jagbags
user ratings (30)
Chart.
3
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
April 27th 2011


7404 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hope the reviews ok.

I love this band, and personally I'm very close to giving the album a 3.5, but that wouldn't be objective, would it?

TheGreatFedora
April 27th 2011


117 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

Absolutely despise this album.

Good review though.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 27th 2011


20857 Comments


Fantastic review (pos-worthy, in fact) for an album that needed one Ali. Well done.

Have seen some really mixed reviews of this & I do want to get around to it eventually. I'm guessing my opinion will almost be identical to yours though.

iFghtffyrdmns
April 27th 2011


7047 Comments


"and frontman James Allan endured a tough time following an addiction to animal tranquilisers"
"endured a tough time following an addiction to animal tranquilisers"
"following an addiction to animal tranquilisers"
"addiction to animal tranquilisers"
"animal tranquilisers"

WHAT THE SHIT!?



nice write-up Ali

LepreCon
April 27th 2011


4152 Comments


Saw these guys once, but can't remember if they were supporting Muse or Lenny Kravitz. My confusion is due to the fact the Kravitz show and the Muse show were in the same place with a day between them... and I was drunk for most of that weekend.

In other news, good review.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2011


7318 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review Ali. I definitely enjoyed reading it - despite my (as you can see) vastly differing opinion. I was actually intending on reviewing this myself but haven't managed to finish my write-up yet (I stalled on my half-finished review in favour of busting out a piece on Sophie Ellis-Bextor instead). I usually stay away from albums that already have a review in place but I may just make an exception this one time - seeing how our opinions differ so much.

Two remarks for you though (in typical Irving fashion):

a.) gretuitously - did you mean gratuitously?

b.) The album is actually entitled EUPHORIC /// HEARTBREAK \ - with three back-slashes.

-

That aside, you did a fantastic job sir. I for one have been reading your occasional pieces and am strongly of the opinion that you should definitely be writing more. Your skill is bordering on Contributor quality (at the very least).

Digging: Portishead - Dummy

Tyrael
April 28th 2011


20946 Comments


Nice review, weak album. Good job!

Digging: Azealia Banks - Broke With Expensive Taste

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
April 28th 2011


7404 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks for the feedback guys.

Davey: Mixed reviews for a mixed album. I'd recommend listening to their debut first if you haven't already, I do think you'll like that.

Irving: Thanks a lot, man. Tbh I sometimes struggle for motivation when it comes to reviewing, but I do try to do it as much as possible. I'm starting a journalism course soon too so I suppose it'll be good practice. also;

a) Yeah that's what I meant, I'll edit it
b) For some reason the database won't let me put more than one back-slash. I've tried editing it repeatedly.

Gyromania
April 28th 2011


15973 Comments


Very, very good review, Ali. Have a pos.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2011


20857 Comments


Yeah, I've heard their debut & like it... Although, I don't love it. The debut is somewhere between a 3.5 & a 4 for me.


Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2011


7318 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh hey I swear I typed in three back slashes in my earlier comment. It seems like you're absolutely right - the site is anti-backslashing lol.

Here I'll do it again: \

Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2011


7318 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

^ WEIRD.

Titan50
April 28th 2011


4588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

How the fuck does this warrant a 2.8...?

Fantastic review. Obviously I disagree. Tempted to review this myself

Pochi948
May 3rd 2011


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Agreed. This is a quality album which deserves a 4.5

TheGreatFedora
May 5th 2011


117 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

Yeah, that's probably my bad. I REALLY hate this album.

jefflebowski
January 22nd 2012


8257 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

so much pretension, so little good music



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy