EP Review: Local Rock Band Glass Radio Proclaims “Time’s Up“ (But They’re Just Getting Started)

April 7, 2018

 

     Opening with a flashy guitar intro, Glass Radio’s newest single “Are You Going My Way?” grabs the listener’s attention. It’s loud enough to startle you, but skillful enough to peak your interest. The track carries on with it’s old-school-80’s-rock feel when the drums come in, creating a mesmerizing rhythm that ushers in the very first defiant lyrics. “So you think you know me/But you can’t control me” are the very first words we hear from Glass Radio. As the track goes on, it takes a twist. We hear the old arena rock sound dissolve into something a little more modern, and we learn that this song isn’t going to carry a hard and loud message of young defiance. Rather, this song gives off an energy that’s a little bit of arrogance, a whole lot of cool, and a chorus that feels more than a little flirty, with lyrics like “I wanna be the one to take you home/Hey, are you going my way?”. 

     “Are You Going My Way?” is the first track off Glass Radio’s latest EP, Time’s Up. No strangers to the music scene, this three-piece band from Orange County features Guitarist/vocalist Nate Curiel, Bassist/vocalist Kyle Korby, and Drummer/vocalist Nick Bishop. Together, they deliver a complex collection of original music rock music that showcases their talent and creativity while never straying too far from their iconic rock ‘n roll roots. 

     The next track on Time’s Up is aptly named “Sugar and Salt”, recounting the story of a girl that simply isn’t so sweet. Bishop’s drums start this one off strong, along with a pulsing guitar riff that alternates seamlessly with the background vocals. In this track, Curiel delivers fast and smooth vocals, proving his voice can change to compliment many different styles of rock. Glass Radio demonstrates their mastery of tempo and excellent use of empty space, as it’s the alternations of this track between quick and slow, and the moments where lead vocals move aside so just the instruments have the spotlight (and vice versa) that really make “Sugar and Salt” a winner. Other great moments in this track include Korby’s bass really being highlighted in the chorus, and the song’s ending, which just stops. The end is a bit sudden and abrupt, but it really works here; it feels right. Again, a testament to Glass Radio’s good use of space in their music.

     “Shake It Like You Mean It” gives off a slight Arctic Monkeys vibe at the beginning due to its title and use of guitar. Curiel’s vocals in this track feel like a secretive whisper spilling the details of a mystery girl who “Looks like an angel/But she’s a devil on the dancefloor”. This track quickly transforms into a sensory experience. The murmuring vocals combined with the smooth guitar and unexpected (but totally welcomed) harmonica and tempo switches near the end really paint the picture of a small sweaty club; the captivating dancer, the neon lights, and the lust in the dark. Sexy, catchy, and undeniably rock ‘n roll, “Shake It Like You Mean It” is indisputably cool. This track could serve double duty as a staple in an indie movie soundtrack, but also something that could be playing in the background of your room in preparation for a night out.

     “Numbered” features a slow bass intro (that ties into a fun little drum kick and picks up with an incredible bass/guitar blend) and vocals that are fun and fast. Glass Radio once again experiments with sound and space as the instruments back down completely (with the exception of a cymbal tapping) when the lyrics are sung. This technique of temporarily sidelining the blaring guitars and beating drums is very old rock, and a really enjoyable aspect of this track. The lyrics are cynical and daring but not unfair, interrogating the listener with a series of “Who said?” questions meant to unsettle and stir thought. The chorus sends out a message of living each day as if it were your last… and that may or may not include a switchblade attitude and a tinge of reckless abandon. “Numbered” ushers in the welcomed return of the harmonica we heard in the previous track, and implements plenty of “woah”’s in the chorus. Although that’s a songwriting trick that can grow old fast, Glass Radio uses it sparingly and effectively, making those “woah”’s into an engaging aspect of the song instead of a drag.

     The final track on this EP, “Get What You Deserve”, is a blues-rock hybrid that will take you by surprise. It’s defiant, slightly ominous, and the transition after the chorus is some Tarantino-worthy noise. To me, (although this apparently isn’t a real thing) this song feels like “graveyard rock”: a term just now officially coined by Us For Once used to describe a song that is striking- straddles the line between living and dead, energetic and slow, quick-witted and deliberate.... and maybe gives us mental images of a band of badass skeletons rising from their graves to play at midnight. The drawn out bass, unexpected pickups, sharp lyrics, and a perfect ending where the lead vocals and guitar fade out accompanied by the ghostly background vocals mark an incredible ending to Time’s Up.

     Time’s Up is a sublime collection of original music, showcasing Glass Radio’s talents and ability to take risks. The end result is five solid songs that won’t be forgotten by the listener anytime soon.

     Interestingly enough, while listening to Time’s Up for the first time, I often caught myself writing a certain type of note: “sounds like Franz Ferdinand”, “feisty like Guns ‘N Roses”, “reminds me of Saint Motel”, “guitar intro reminiscent of Alice Cooper”, “Arctic Monkeys bass”, “Aerosmith-y”. I didn’t realize where all of this was headed until I reached the end of the EP. What did I mean by these notes? Was I implying that this band was lazy, ripping off tried and true sounds? No. Not in the slightest. My point is actually 100% the exact opposite. Glass Radio is self-described as, “One of those bands you can’t quite put your finger on. They have a unique sound which is infectiously likable- all the while maintaining the soul of golden- era Rock and Roll”. And honestly, after listening to Time’s Up, I couldn’t agree more.

     These guys are are versatile and extremely imaginative. It takes talent to create a chameleon sound that’s not quite the same as anyone else’s, and certainly never the same as their own last track. All this, and yet somehow they still always tie back to their undeniable rock ‘n roll beginnings? Glass Radio talks the talk and walks the

walk. Their EP says Time’s Up, but I have a feeling this is only their beginning.

 

 

 

 

Glass Radio is currently promoting their new EP and playing intimate venues in the local OC area. To more information or to connect with the band, check out their website, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Spotify!

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