Review Summary: Crack open half a beer, its celebration time.
Although the evidence seems to argue the contrary, ‘Just Married’ always manages to feel distinctly emo. A million miles away from the melancholic brilliance of Jeremy Enigk and co, and yet illogically familiar, Glocca Morra’s modern take on emo comes equipped with generous helpings of the accessibility and buoyancy normally habitual to indie rock. Following the trend popularised by the seminal American Football and the recently defunct Algernon Cadwallader, chaotic vocals are married with dominant, indie inspired riffs that differ in their deviation from the staple 4/4 time signature. On ‘Just Married’, Glocca Morra successfully pairs the sense of optimism that one would associate with becoming a newlywed, with a traditionally emo sound, in a paradoxical combination that shines predominantly but flounders occasionally.
Undoubtedly the biggest strength of Glocca Morra’s ‘Just Married’ lies in its cohesive nature. Rather than feeling like a haphazard collection of songs, it stands strongest when viewed as a body of work; constructed to be listened to in its entirety. Opener ‘Ya’ll Boots Hats" (Die Angry)’ is a declaration. Midway upon the drunken musings of a man loosely recalling past events, love is realised amid a torrent of drumming and wandering guitars. Cries of “Carolina!” and “I love you” permeate the songs end, in a show of emotion that is unashamedly jovial and blunt. ‘Irrevocable, Mother***er’ sees Glocca Morra pay homage to American Football, with a riff and trumpet combination reminiscent of ‘The Summer Ends’ on a caffeine kick. Layered vocals and energetic drumming drive the song throughout, whilst a jangling riff combines effectively with trumpets before leading to a repetitive but strong conclusion. The album’s longest track ‘Eat the ***ing Snow’ demonstrates impressive restraint from a band who so often favour a gung-ho approach. Beginning in typical fashion, the fast tempo recedes halfway and is replaced with delicate cymbal work and a gorgeous riff that saunters alongside it. The appearance of a xylophone and the removal of vocals entirely see the song end as a peaceful triumph, so far detached from its origins it’s easy to forget how it began.
As with most releases of this genre, this biggest make or break element is the vocals. Almost always energetic and strained, and occasionally off key, repeated listening is required to become accustomed to them. Deployed relentlessly throughout, they could just as easily be labelled intrinsic to Glocca Morra’s sound as they could detrimental. The weaker moments of ‘Just Married’ lie in the underdeveloped shorter tracks ‘Hot & Informed’ and ‘Theories on Relativity...’ as well as album closer ‘Me + Geniene’. Both of the former begin brightly, but both finish prematurely, gaining little momentum in their short durations before coming to abrupt ends. ‘Me + Geniene’ is a failed experiment, with excessively used samples and an outro which dithers and fails to evolve, fading to a disappointing finale.
Despite its shortcomings, ‘Just Married’ is a great, cohesive album which sees plenty of celebration, with just one eye kept on the door in case that divorce is just around the corner.