Glas [Release date 09.12.14]
Glas is a stripped down rocking trio from South Wales with a mission statement to play: “classic blues, rock and roll, country and r&b in a contemporary way”.
The splendidly titled ‘From The Blues To Your Shoes’ does indeed mix blues with rockabilly, r&b and a couple of self penned blues songs, but there’s not enough of their own material to make a splash.
It’s an album full of paint stripping, raw and uncompromising rockabilly which is doubtless fired by John Fogerty’s song title ‘Almost Saturday Night’.
The trio rips things up as if it’s their last night on earth, but they don’t quite have the chops of their obvious influences such as The Pirates, or the panache of their rockabilly heroes.
What they do have is raw talent, tons of energy and enough self-confidence to override a lack of quality songs and attack their rocking influences without a safety net.
Sometimes it works in unexpected ways as guitarist James Oliver explores a wide variety of tones and the rhythm section of David John (bass and vocals) and drummer Huw Hannon never let the tempo’s falter.
They start promisingly on the Spartan, self-penned ‘The Sky Turned Red And My Face Turned Blue’, on a staggered arrangement that ultimately draws the listener into their own material
It starts sparsely and features a hoarse vocal from David John which could have done with better diction, but suddenly explodes on the back of a couple of full blooded, big toned, gnawing solos and leads to a stop-start ending that picks up the groove either side of a pregnant pause.
‘Revenge Freak’ has a rockabilly feel with a brusque vocal that somehow incorporates a tongue twisting delivery and leads to a spiraling solo before returning to the pulsating guitar line.
‘Fleur De Lys’ retains the rockabilly feel on 90 seconds of clean toned hot picking that would surely make Albert Lee smile, as James’s guitar darts in and out of the rhythm track like a train running out of track.
However, by the time of ‘Shake Rattle & Roll’ they head into stodgy pub rock fare that no amount of sharp licks, searing slide and deft percussion can rescue from oblivion.
And that’s a shame as Glas clearly have the raw material to make interesting music. The album title ‘From The Blues To Your Shoes’ is a misnomer for a lo-fi project in search of a producer who could shape and craft their energetic music.
As it is, they as they sound more like a rockabilly band happy to nail their mast to blues flag to get noticed.
David John over-sings on ‘The Causing of It All’ aka ‘Who’s Been Talkin’, while James big guitar figure has the effect of smashing a nut with a sledgehammer. The emotive Howlin’ Wolf blues song is given a unique arrangement with an alternating eastern sounding solo with crashing chords and an ever present whammy bar twang.
‘She’s Long Gone’ relies on some energetic slide to give it some punch, while ‘Dust My Broom’ feels like an obligatory blues cover by a band clearly more at home on the following ‘Shake Rattle & Roll’.
James switches to big twang guitar and a contrasting piercing tone on a raucous cover of ‘Sea Cruise’ on which David’s vocal almost embraces scat singing on a wild finish that confirms Glas can rock with the best of them.
The band’s rocking credential are never in doubt, but this album doesn’t quite do enough to suggest they have much to offer outside of a visceral retreads.
However, they do rock hard and you could imagine Glas surprising a few headline bands and filling plenty of dance floors up and down the land, they simply need more original material and a broader musical vision. ***
Review by Pete Feenstra
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