Glassmaps - Strangely Addicted

by D R Pautsch Rating:8 Release Date:2017-11-10
Glassmaps - Strangely Addicted
Glassmaps - Strangely Addicted

Somewhere in the seventies there is a lost album by an artist that found The Beatles, ELO and psychedelia very much their style.  That album contains harmonies, beautiful ballads and enough heartfelt situational lyrics to wrench the coldest heart strings.  That album was released in 2017 by Glassmaps.  It’s called Strangely Addicted, and it swoons, swishes and sways through its ten songs, the, with a kind of naivety that can only beguile the listener.  Of course, that's only half the story.  When "Future Loves" starts off like it belongs on Coldplay’s debut album, and "Summer Rain" stomps around like Queens of The Stone Age, you know that the references might go back four decades, but are actually a bit more recent as well.  However, we are getting ahead of ourselves.  After all, who is Glassmaps and where have they been hiding for this long?  Well, the answer is simple.  Glassmaps is Joel Stein, lead guitarist with Australia’s Howlin Bells.  Whilst they are on a break he has enlisted his fellow bandmate Glenn Moule as drummer and decamped to a studio in Las Vegas to record his debut album.  This sounds as far from Vegas as you could imagine as it has substance that many of the gaudy attractions there run away from in the aim of gaining a quick buck.

There are tales of love lost and found and all manner of the stereotypes here on offer, but they are delivered with welcome heart and a lack of cynicism. The album opens with the slow playing of a piano that leads into a ballad of harmony and pomp that is the title track.  It goes through various guises of piano, acoustic and electric guitar but always has harmony at its core.  The swash of vocal that opens "Hypnotised" is led through its pop moments first by the drums and then a guitar solo that sounds as dated as it is fresh.  Therein lies much of the success of the album, utilising a band mate who seems to be on the same wavelength throughout the album has meant this debut comes across as a very assured piece.

As a debut album, Stein has set a high watermark that often can’t quite live up to itself.  In its latter half it gets a little patchier with "Golden Dayze" being a song that could do with a little more work.  Perhaps the album runs its course too early and can’t sustain its duration.  This is almost in keeping with the seventies album this album most closely resembles.  After all, that was a decade of experimentation and excess that didn’t always work.  Although excessive is not something you could accuse Strangely Addicted of exhibiting.  However, at times the best music in the seventies wasn’t the cool stuff but it was in fact the other music that it was decidedly uncool to like in the hindsight goggles we all wear.  In that way Strangely Addicted is perfect, as it's good music that may not be the hipsters choice, but it’s all the better for not being.

 

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