There is a healthy buzz around UK alternative rockers Glass Caves, and the release of their debut album Alive provides plenty of reasons why. It holds a collection of catchy and vibrant songs which live up to the album’s title with ease. There is an energy and hunger to songwriting and tracks which provides the release and sound with a tenacious and invigorating presence. It makes for a potently captivating encounter though what there is not within Alive is unique character or presence to set the band truly out from the Arctic Monkeys inspired crowd. Taking songs individually it does not impact so openly but across what is a nevertheless fascinating and highly satisfying proposition, that essence prevents a great album being a classic striking debut.
Since forming the band has incessantly hit streets and venues with their presence and vivacious sounds. This has led to a constantly increasing and eager fan base as well as praising attention from the underground media and beyond. Successful slots at numerous festivals such as Leeds/Reading, Ynot Festival, and Shrewsbury Fields Forever has done them no harm neither, nor the release of their self-titled EP last year. Now the Rich Turvey (Darlia/The Mispers) produced and John Davis (Royal Blood/Catfish and the Bottlemen) mastered Alive is ready to awaken even broader attention and even with small reservations, expectations of success are inescapable.
Glass Caves’ new single Go sets things off and instantly lights up ears and imagination with a flame of tasty guitar and probing rhythms. It is a spicy start reinforced by strong vocals and melodic acidity which begins washing over the fiery song. The band would probably protest but there is no avoiding the resonance of Alex Turner and co which whispers loudly within the track, something many bands employ or are tailored by and certainly here adds an admittedly flavoursome hue. All the same, the song is a punchy and energetically persuasive stomp providing a strong lure into the album.
The following Driving Home is just as contagious and instantly intriguing, hooks and melodies toying with ears and emotions from the start whilst vocals, lead and backing, create a warm web of enticement. The throbbing groan of a bassline adds to the rich bait whilst guitars capture thoughts with their inventive. As gently infectious and lively as its predecessor, it swiftly shows the band has an arsenal of highly persuasive songs, a theory soon backed up by Why Stay? and Out Of Control. The first of the pair lays down a slightly more reserved but no less animated canvas for voice and guitar to colour whilst the second with a similarly restrained base, explores shadowed scenery embellished by seductive keys. Whilst there is that persistent feel of other bands, Funeral Suits coming to mind, there is real individuality and distinctive character to each song which only suggests that overall uniqueness will come with time and maturity, this track a bulging proposition of evidence with its melodies caresses and vocal drama.
Both the sonically sultry Tonight and the smouldering blaze that is Breaking Out keep the album compelling and attention gripped, the latter of the pair a track with a never realised volatile edge to its temptation bringing a dramatic edge to spark appetite and imagination. The two again show further variation in the character of songs within the album, just as the excellent Let Go. There is an extra whiff of familiarity to the song yet it only enhances its spellbinding and virulently fascinating waltz. The best track on the album with ease it is an anthem to the skills and invention of the band and for passions to enlist in.
The slow burn of Match with its rhythmic crescendos and wiry melodic coaxing is another track full of intrigue and adventure but does lacks the something which ignites earlier tracks. It still makes for a pleasing companion, one sounding bigger and better over time, before This Road brings its own tantalising scenery and melodic dance to tap another keen wave of appetite whilst Be Together in turn parades its powerful embrace of warm keys and jangly hooks. Their enterprising suasions are surpassed by the creative tension of How I Feel, a song with a melodic landscape walled by raw sonic colouring and rhythmic prowling.
The album comes to a close with Moongate, a final energetic croon of voice and sound leaving a lingering touch on ears and thoughts. It is an excellent end to a thoroughly enjoyable release. Yes there is that lack of something strikingly different to set Glass Caves apart from the many but to be fair that applies to a wealth of emerging bands of which most certainly do not make as strong and as pleasing an impression as found with Alive. Glass Caves is a band to keep a good eye on and their album one to have plenty of fun with.
Alive is available now via Tri-Tone @ www.buyalive.co.uk
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