Angel Air 2018
Juggling memories and visions from the future, glittering nomads from London venture off in search of their best bits and pieces.
“Damage is done”: this statement from ONE THE JUGGLER’s debut should define that British band’s offshoot GLAMWEAZEL who came to be when the veterans had played their 25th anniversary concert and half of them realized the criminality of stopping. Almost a decade later, with a few albums stashed on shelves, the band’s profile remains relatively low, but “The Great Unknown” – a fitting tag for the quartet – is set to rectify it all by selecting prime cuts from those records to lure the listener into investigating their luminous, if flawed, creations. A whopping eighteen pieces of mischief, full of familiar motifs yet devoid of direct quotes of glam classics.
The group may brilliantly convey the raw edge of their chosen genre’s early incarnation in “Thursday Night 1972” – catchy riffs, crunchy choruses and contagious stomp are abundant here – but most of the songs are missing the scintillating veneer that made a holy holy B&B of Bolan and Bowie so special back in the day. Sure, substituting panache with pastiche is a nice shtick, working wonders on the soulful likes of “Human After All” which picks up where “Starman” left off, and “Big Beat Radio” where the protagonist is waiting for his man; and, of course, there’s a healthy dose of irony involved, the insistent “Self Deceiver” laying it on the line between strum and assault from Colin Minchin’s six strings. Still, when the molten nostalgia of “Tangled Leads” – where spirits of eternally young dudes wallow in orchestral reverie – goes cold, the folksy sentiment of “Playtime Is Over” comes into desperate play, because the golden age of rock and roll has long passed.
Driven by relentless beat, “The Art Of The Meltdown” doesn’t seem to agree, yet the number’s dimming glimmer must betray the style’s fatigue, and although “Songs Of Texas” offers a tasty slice of Southern rock, boogie is kept in check here. However, “Illusion, Lies And Butterflies” combines guitar twang with Lushi’s vocal flutter to a sweet, sweet effect, and intimate acoustica married to plaintive vanity on “The Waiting Song” is so pleasantly ’70s. That’s why “Precious Thing” – a rather banal ballad – would outstay its magnum opus stance, whereas the piano-helped “Early Morning Light” will eulogize romantic routine, and the sparkling “Winters Rose” will propose simpler sincerity. And that’s how patinated glam may manage to shine again.