Review Summary: Shoegaze has a new mission statement - twenty years removed from its downfall it is here to stay no matter how many times you beg for an Oasis reunion.
I think it is hard to deny at this point that shoegaze's second act is in full-swing. As Cheatahs, Nothing, Alcest, and a host of other great bands have all made albums this year that are indebted to the greats that game the genre its namesake over twenty years ago. This brings us to A Sunny Day in Glasgow, who have been around the block for a good seven years in comparison to their peers and have developed a fairly signature sound at this point.
Admittedly, this is my first exposure to A Sunny Day in Glasgow, but that in no ways diminishes the effect that Sea When Absent had on me. The first track, "Bye Bye Big Ocean(The End)" is the first track and serves as a perfect introduction to the band. It smacks you in the face with blaring kick-drums and warped guitars slathering you in a wave of noise. The vocals in this track are low in the mix and very subdued in that signature shoegaze kind of way. You feel submerged in this world that they've created. In other words - it sounds like the most ***ed up rave you've ever been to. Pure psych-pop bliss.
Across this album's 11 tracks we are treated to songs that sound like a band that have finally grown into their sound. There is no messing around. They sound self-assured and confident, using their unusual production style to give each song its distinct feel and world. "The Body, It Bends" is a great example of this as well. We have some guitar strumming and beautiful vocals before it is surrounded by this cacophony of beautiful harmonies that soar with some of the best Slowdive tracks. "In Love with Useless" is this beautiful reverb-soaked indie pop song that has a vocal hook that sounds like the lead singer is singing through a glitchy radio, it is brilliant in just how abnormal it is. Just absolutely stunning.
So many second-wave era shoegaze bands from the past five or so years have tried so hard to tap into what made Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine so special but A Sunny Day in Glasgow seem to be one of the only bands that truly understand that special "it" factor. It isn't just indie rock with the reverb tuned high, it is a proper wall of sound that the more you peel back the layers you hear these breathtaking melodies that put the dream in dream-pop.
A Sunny Day in Glasgow may not be the most known band in the world, but I'd be damned if I didn't say they deserved a great deal of recognition for wherever they go from here. If one could consider this album a mission statement, it is that shoegaze still might some life in it for a new generation. At long last, shoegaze is beginning to leap from where it left off in 1995. So go to your local record store and ask for Sea When Absent, because music like this doesn't deserve to be in a vacuum. It deserves to be out in the wild, engulfing the world in melody and reverb and compelling everyone who dares listen to pick up a guitar and a reverb pedal. On this day in 2014, the sun doesn't just shine for Glasgow, it shines for the whole world of music listeners.