glaswegians
severance


4.5
superb

Review

by JJKeys USER (22 Reviews)
June 30th, 2017 | 31 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Say less, do more

Independent Bandcamp artists – they can be quite the unassuming species, can’t they? Amongst the layers of aspiring lo-fi bedroom artists; waves of opportunists jumping on the vaporwave memewagon and a scattering of experimental oddities, there is gold to be panned.

Vancouver-based artist Glaswegians is one of those rarities, with 2017’s Severance being better than an underground independent release has any right to be. Severance is 65 minutes of progressive, folk and post-rock excellence that puts most professional artists’ work from this year to shame.

Instrumental prog rock albums, especially those of such length, often fall victim to bloatedness or act as a vessel of autofellatio. There’s no self-indulgence in Severance, just pure-hearted and joyous music. Even with each of the four tracks lasting in the teens, Glaswegians keeps them feeling fresh with excellent and often pleasantly unpredictable progressions. Transitions don’t feel forced or rushed, nor do movements overstay their welcome, with the only exception being the mid-section of ‘Duress’ submitting to the doldrums.

Let me walk you through opener ‘Orwellian’: A The Glowing Man-esque intro of miasmic strings is halted by a funky Eastern-inspired guitar riff, where an accumulation of instrumentation through this repeated measure is nothing short of entrancing. Countermelodies and backgrounds of flutes, pipes and horns in these first few minutes show the level of cacophonous detail Glaswegians has put into Severance. The swells and breaths of ‘Orwellian’ between cycles of crescendos and the Baroquesque woodwinds make the track feel like a gargantuan, living, breathing being. Even towards the end of the track, the fake-out climax of heavy drums is followed by a subtle resolvement with callbacks to the shimmering strings in the song’s intro, bringing ‘Orwellian’ full circle. Listening to Severance feels like traversing across wild topographies on an adventurous journey, only to find that you’re back where you started.

In the peppy ‘Brobdingnag’, every layer of instrumentation is more bouncy than the last; even the subtler parts feel like the bouncier sections in Battles’ debut, Mirrored. ‘Petrichor’s piano-laden opening feels like something from Kashiwa Daisuke’s Program Music II in its post-rockish splendour. Every track has a distinct vibe that distinguishes itself from the others, but the consistency in Severence results in a coherent record with an excellent flow. Only a small number of heavier prog metal sections or guitar riffs feel a little limp, but ultimately there are very few parts in Severance that falter.

The production in Severance is effective, where every instrument is allowed space to breathe and given limelight when acting as the main melody. Every item in the plethora of instrumentation feels well placed, well utilized and never overused: from harmonicas to accordions, euphoniums to recorders and glockenspiels to guiros, Glaswegians has treated every weapon in their arsenal with respect rather than as a gimmick – well, maybe except the frying pan.

Through even resorting to recording in Vancouver’s public library, Glaswegians shows that with the utmost effort and perseverance, anyone can achieve the fullest of their potential in creating a superb album. Severance is a modern equivalent to the instrumental odysseys of Mike Oldfield’s Ommadawn and Tubular Bells – an essential listen from 2017.



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user ratings (24)
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
JJKeys
June 30th 2017


1084 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cross-posted from my review on Prog Talk: https://progandtalk.wordpress.com/2017/06/29/album-review-glaswegians-severance/

Listen to the album here: https://glaswegians.bandcamp.com/album/severance

Fantastic record, probably in my top 5 of the year so far - I haven't been this instantly impressed by an instrumental prog album since Scale the Summit's 2013 album, The Migration. (unless you count 1099 as prog)

clavier
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2017


1052 Comments


this sounds interesting, will give it a try

Digging: Common Holly - When I say to you Black Lightning

JJKeys
July 1st 2017


1084 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Tell me what you think! I found it on a bandcamp self-promo thread on /mu/ back in May, still can't believe anything this good came from /mu/

clavier
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2017


1052 Comments


oh man, this album is not easy to listen to. It seems interesting but I don't know if I have the attention span for it

JJKeys
July 3rd 2017


1084 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah it's not exactly an album you can dip in an out of - listening to the whole thing makes for a better experience

I enjoy it most when I'm on a long train journey, hope you manage to listen to it eventually!

Asdfp277
August 6th 2017


21548 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is deff interesting

kylemccluskey
August 7th 2017


177 Comments


v excited to check this

Asdfp277
August 7th 2017


21548 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i give this a 4.0 even tho it's closer to a 3.5 for me, just for hype reasons (?. it's not common for me to like anything remotely prog so ye, cool stuff

JJKeys
August 7th 2017


1084 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Still jamming this hard - and what's wrong with Canada, eh?

Asdfp277
August 8th 2017


21548 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

bump

JJKeys
December 13th 2017


1084 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

WHOMST'D'VE 5'D THIS

BlackMalachite
December 18th 2017


3711 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is a cool album, a little wonky at parts but I dug it.

JJKeys
December 20th 2017


1084 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Glad you enjoyed it - always happy to see new people dig this, it's criminally underground

calmrose
December 22nd 2017


5228 Comments


this is all sorts of wonky awesomeness

Digging: Cave In - Final Transmission

Faraudo
December 22nd 2017


3197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Almost a 5, maybe i'll bump it eventually.

Digging: Scalene - Respiro

calmrose
December 22nd 2017


5228 Comments


love everything about this

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
December 31st 2017


16928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh

Frivolous
January 2nd 2018


877 Comments


this is kind of amazing so far

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
January 2nd 2018


16928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah Loved this, last track was a bit of a let down tho

Asdfp277
January 2nd 2018


21548 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

kind of amazing?!



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