Review Summary: Glowing Season (Yeah)
It remains beyond me how bands begin and then continue to (co)operate. At what point does the conflict get to them? The aggression, or, worse, passive-aggression; the narcissism of those who choose to put themselves in or under the spotlight. Damn, what about the inequalities? How does a band go about addressing unequal contributions? Like, be honest. You ever been a part of a group project, whether at school or work or home, that actually turns out? That doesn’t turn to shit? That results in a product that isn’t either a compromise or means to an end, an ah, goddamn, fuck it? I’m sure it happens, it has to happen, it does
happen. On No Fun
and elsewhere. But it’s something that never ceases to amaze me.
Glowing may never cease to amaze me. Not because there is anything particularly unique about their music; No Fun
is, in many ways, your prototypical Australian indie rock. It’s an EP jam-packed with loud, anthemic tunes about love, mostly lost, and being lost, mostly in love. The band, however, its members, their performances, exude exuberance: clean, well-structured songwriting; dynamic, impassioned performances; a restlessness that colours every tortured vocal line, and every sunny guitar.
Hear, for example, on opener ‘Plunge’, frontman Finn Cameron waste absolutely no time by way of pleasantries. “Fill my blood,” he yells at the outset, beckoning an immediately loud, groovy albeit measured performance by the rest of the band; it’s as if, in lieu of a count-in, Cameron has shocked them awake. (The phrase itself is a beautifully interwoven one; there’s a lot of filling, falling, and feeling on No Fun
.) If you’re at all familiar with colourblind, you’re well aware of Cameron’s positively domineering presence in bands. It’s a miracle, really, given the largeness, the boldness of Cameron’s presence, that lead guitarist Jack Paech’s poppy, frenetic riffs shine through as well as they do. They do, but, as does the rest of the band’s contributions, which culminate on ‘Sand’ in a number of stop-starty, quick-quicker movements through which the group glides together in a manner that is nothing short of breathtaking. It’d be a marvel to watch and hear live. The production on the EP is equally magnificent: Jarred Nettle’s knack for clean, pristine, though far from lifeless audio engineering is next to unrivalled, even by some of Australia’s biggest. It would be, perhaps, No Fun
’s greatest asset, if not for the musical talent on display.
If anything, Glowing is perhaps a little too tight. Unlike colourblind, whose emotion shone through far murkier sonic waters, Glowing feel, at times, a little self-neutered. This is absolutely not the case on ‘Fall Into My’, which feels like the the EP’s fullest, most complete track. The way Cameron, Paech, and (now ex) guitarist Jess Day trade their vocals at its backend makes for a beautiful, tender moment; Cameron’s climactic screams feel better-earned because of it. It’s a feeling I wish was replicated more often throughout the EP, a rare moment in which members shine through in a way that isn’t subsumed under a quasi-machinistic whole.
Which is to say: Glowing sound impressively unified as a band. No Fun
is incredibly cohesive and well put together. As an EP, however, it feels more like a taster than a full project. Like an incredibly well-produced demo tape. Which is not at all to the band’s discredit: the songs that appear on No Fun
feel very much like a kind of mission statement, an introduction for what’s to come. I hope what comes feels less like a group of well-attuned friends tuning their instruments to a single frequency, and more like a unified whole of evidently talented musicians fighting for centre-stage in a way that balances the group’s wholistic dynamic with members’ individual talents. Regardless, Glowing amaze me, and No Fun
Wait, though, are band members friends?