The relationship between a piece of music and the world it comes from can only be understood in retrospect. Take guitar-based indie for example: a sober reflection on the indie rock of the Obama era reveals a trajectory from anthemic and world-conquering poptimism to the more meditative, staid energy of Real Estate, Kurt Vile, and Alvvays. In 2009, we were triumphant. In 2015, why try at all? The world is chugging along and progress is progressing apace…isn’t it best to coast?
Fast forward to 2019. Today, when you listen to music that traffics primarily in texture, posture and affect, it feels almost wasteful. Don’t get me wrong, this genre was founded on not trying too hard, and coasting is its birthright. But time is running out on this whole civilization thing, so can we have some earworm hooks and sub-five minute track lengths please? And fuck it, how about a guitar solo that rips?
Brooklyn-based GLOM is here to say yes—yes, we can. They paint with a sonic palette that recalls the bands mentioned above, but what they manage to create is more singable, more lovable, more promising than anything you’ve heard from the sleepy psychedelia genre in quite some time.
“Stuck,” from the upcoming GLOM debut LP on La Reserve Records, is a richly melodic and tender showcase for the band’s songwriting chops and pop acumen. It charges ahead with purpose while simultaneously feeling grand and hazy—a hybrid of The Lemonheads and Cocteau Twins, “Stuck” is both intimate and ethereal. And listener, beware: Peter Warren’s voice, crystal clear in the mix and effortlessly powerful, will make you question whether your favorite band’s vocalist has any pipes at all.
It’s a song about a relationship gone bad, so maybe it’s not supposed to feel redemptive and hopeful. But to me it suggests that, though the arc of the music universe is long, it may be bending back toward the triumphant. If not in lyrics, at least in sound.
“And though they were sad, they rescued everyone.” That’s a lyric by Wayne Coyne, torch-carrier for another indie rock generation, one that feels long-gone now. Who knows what was happening in the world back then—but I think he was on to something.
Listen to “Stuck” below.