Review Summary: Gleemer continue to add effective wrinkles to their formula.
Gleemer have settled into a reliable and effective formula over the past decade or so, and Here At All
does very little to alter it. What it decides to offer instead is a natural continuation of Down Through
’s glacial pacing, ethereal atmosphere, and occasional crushing intensity. The EP comes barreling out of the gate with the gargantuan “In Your Way”, a track that feels like a spiritual companion to 2020’s “Casino”, utilizing much of the same tension in its chord changes while opting for a more brisk tempo and in-your-face presentation; it could be argued that the band haven’t outright rocked this hard since “Heater”. Right from the get go, guitarist/vocalist/engineer/producer/everyman Corey Coffman’s sonic gifts are on display, as the EP makes a strong case for being the most cleanly produced Gleemer project yet (the drums in particular pack a previously absent punch here). Once the intensity dies down, the relevance of Here At All
’s striking artwork becomes apparent as the group conclude “In Your Way” with a spidery instrumental replete with shifting meters, before using the following four tracks to draw the listener dreamily into their sonic web. I’d be lying if I told you that songs like “Outline” and “Backlog” aren’t what we’ve come to expect from Gleemer, or that their quality meets the standard of album cuts like “Brush Back” or “Spread Out”. They’re perfectly passable, but not entirely stunning in the way that the band’s best efforts are. “Backlog” unfortunately fails to stick the landing by guiding its spellbinding opening into the weeds with a disappointing climax, which is surprising given the band’s expertise with such songwriting structures. Thankfully, the band saves a strong surprise for last, with closing track “Valentine” electing to become entirely atmosphere, buried beneath tidal waves of distortion and boasting one of the strongest melodies the band has ever written.
Here At All
isn’t a watershed moment in the Gleemer discography by any means, and it won’t change the game for the band or their respective scene, but it’s nice to hear them step outside of the box in small ways and continue to add effective wrinkles to their formula. Despite this fact, its bookend tracks are both all-time great additions to the band’s canon, and meeting expectations elsewhere can’t be seen as a bad thing, right? While my hunger for another full-length Gleemer project is not yet satiated, Here At All
was a wonderful surprise and it’s fantastic to hear new music from one of the best and most important bands in the nugaze scene today.