Review Summary: In defense of the genrethe first glass beach album
is a masterpiece. It is the most daring, free-wheeling, silly and heartfelt punk album since 2010, when the likes of Vacation
and The Monitor
were released. Before I get myself into too much trouble with this claim, it’s important you take a moment to decide what exactly genre means to you; for me, it has always been an ever-changing entity, liminal at best and quite constricting at worst. So, are glass beach exuberant, irreverent and poppy as hell? Check, check and check. Do they also play by their own rules, doing whatever they damn well please and making it stick through sheer passion and force of will? You bet your ass. Combining trace elements of punk, funk, indie, ska, and EDM into a truly feverish alchemy, I’m tempted to say glass beach have presented us with something that hasn’t quite been heard ever before. So, ya know, breaking the status quo, burning down preconceived notions with no regards to taste or acceptance? Yeah, that’s punk as fuck.
the first glass beach album
is so relentlessly exhilarating because of this refusal to be pinned down. While it may get a little messy at times, it is never haphazard, and there’s a strange kind of laser-focused method to its madness. Songs are expansive and unpredictable, but the songwriting is tight, catchy and fun as hell. You never know what you’re going to get, whether it’s regal horns, triumphantly anthemic riffs, or gorgeous interludes that intertwine live instrumentation with ecstatic EDM. It’s crucial to point out the quieter moments, which are perfectly placed and give the album its beating heart; it’s not all one big party, but a finely calibrated roller coaster ride of multilayered instrumentation, deeply felt passion, and hooks galore. To single out any songs would be unfair, robbing the experience its element of surprise. The whole thing holds up from top to bottom, from exploratory acoustic dirges to ADHD-addled pogo punk. glass beach have seemingly materialized out of nowhere and hit it out of the park on their first attempt, and you owe it to yourself to take part in the grand spectacle of a band unafraid to blaze a new path forward.