There can’t be too many precedents in pop where the thoughts of the recently deceased (“I’ve never been no goddamn saint/careful of the picture that you paint”) are set to a rowdy blend of angular post-punk and bouncy acoustic ska, but then the quirkiness of the excellent title track on Glimmermen’s debut sets the tone for the whole album, one that rejects the uniform. The pulpy untethered beats, woody stand-up bass and shattered-glass guitar are constants, but enterprising embellishments gleefully shake the norm: a honking sax fattens the riff on ‘I’m Dead’; Mariachi-style horns illuminate the chorus over the earthy dancehall swagger of ‘There Was a Boy’; a flurry of harmonica dissects the ringing harmonics of the driving ‘Peace at Last’. The loose, single-take openness gives ‘I’m Dead’ a live feel, sometimes reminiscent of a mid-eighties Peel session from never-quite-cracked-it acts like Bogshed or Tools You Can Trust, but channeled through songs of far-greater consistency, fronted by Gavin Cowley’s warm, worldly vocal and his ruminations on life, and death. Take ‘Home’, for example, where the bass lays a sparse refrain across a solid soul beat, leaving space for Cowley to opine ‘I came from the country/I made for the city/And I found home’; or the spoken narrative of ‘Angels and Devils’, a leaden-sky of a tune, part Fall, part Bad Seeds, that could soundtrack a vicious Spaghetti Western. There are several highlights. No mere glimmer of something special on this Dublin trio’s debut, then, more an intense glare.
I’m Dead is out now
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