Review : Glassjaw - Our Color Green EP
AbsolutepunkEight years. That's how long it has been since we've heard any new studio material from Long Island's post-hardcore veterans Glassjaw. In 2003, the band released one of the best albums of the decade, Worship and Tribute. It's something guitarist Justin Beck has explained as getting as close to combining artists he loves the likes of Stevie Wonder and Bad Brains. In that fruition, the band made one of the heaviest, most thought-provoking records alongside The Shape of Punk to Come and Relationship of Command. It was a hardcore gumbo no one was prepared for, but once consumed, everyone then wanted more. Then, one day, things just stopped. The band wasn't on hiatus. They weren't broken up. They just stopped releasing music. They talked about releasing music. They played some new songs over the years. They did one-off shows and mini-tours. We, as fans, weren't satisfied.
Then in August of this past year, the band released a limited addition 7" of "All Good Junkies Go to Heaven" through MerchDirect, Beck's business. The track was showcased while on tour "down under," earlier in the year, and it was a sign that new things were hopefully coming in the future. After that August release, month by month, at specific times and one-off shows in New York under the moniker of "special guests," more tunes were released on wax. It became a frenzy, as MerchDirect crashed upon the release of "Stars," as well as creating havoc and price gouging on eBay. Along with the DOGMA session videos Beck had been working on, it looked like Glassjaw were back in business. While we weren't rewarded with a full-length on 1/11/11 this year (many had hoped because of the pattern of releases leading up to GJ93), we finally have that EP we've been told about by some Chauncey dude.
With all the hype, do the Jaw live up to it? Does this shit actually slay? You must not have heard "Stars," a remake of "Star Above My Bed," as it bashes a sense of urgency and intensity into the back of your skull. When the whole track breaks down and Daryl Palumbo loses it in a blood curdling rant, your eyes immediately light up. "Natural Born Farmer" showcases a heavy rhythmic section that flows in a melodic fashion. That same style can be noted on "All Good Junkies Go to Heaven," where the overall feel is only heightened when Palumbo cries out "When you water the old man!" the second time around. Nothing on the EP displays the band's staying power, compositional bite or grandeur allusion (Deftones, Dillinger Escape Plan) better than "Jesus Glue." There are many reference points to pull out of this one, but it is all Glassjaw in the end. The simplicity and hit of the mid-track breakdown is ferocious and stacks evenly with the Latin groove and vocal shrill thereafter. This is the Glassjaw we've been (im)patiently waiting for, and it absolutely delivered....full text
SputnikmusicThis was the reaction I got when I told a musically-inclined friend of mine I was, in fact, leaving my job early to see the band in Brooklyn the next night. It's no stretch to say that it's not like you could blame the guy. Glassjaw are a band who have supposedly self-destructed any number of times at different points since the release of just two cult-classic records (2000's Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence and 2002's Worship & Tribute), building up a kind of retarded post-hardcore mythology due to the band's own silence surrounding its own workings, and its enigmatic/trollish/asshole way of dealing with any REAL questions in interviews. Is it record label trouble? Will there ever be a goddamn album? Why did they get rid of Todd on 2nd guitar? Is Daryl smoking rock/shooting up/losing it? Are they just assholes? Why the hell did it take them eight years to do ANYTHING? And the fucking ARROGANCE of these dudes! Putting out only ONE song a month, in an obscure format, in super-limited quantities, with no super-convenient digital download immediately available? And these things are going on eBay for over $150 each! ONE SONG! I'm not even that dumb. Point is... why should anyone care if Glassjaw decides to release semi-new music that has existed in well-documented bootlegs for the better part of four years, one of them being around in forms since the bands inception in 1993?
Because like it or not, NO ONE does music like Glassjaw does their music. Yes, letlive's new record was awesome. But it was only awesome because it reminded you of what bands like Glassjaw, Thrice, Thursday, etc. did in their prime seven years ago. Our Color Green was named after the band's first 7", and in many ways signifies a rebirth of sorts for the band in how it musically retains elements of all their records with a distinctly new sense of groove, melodicism and heft that the band only hinted at on old records. Even though Daryl is in my own opinion at 80% on these songs, he lets the pretenders to the throne know that he's still better than them for a reason. "Jesus Glue" finds the band turning in a stellar performance with Daryl's wails during the verses, hindered only by a questionable vocal filter and a slightly annoying screech during the freak-out parts. "Stars" and "Lennon" both show that Daryl can still turn in a hair-raising vocal performance on par with much of the "old stuff" that so many people talk about....full text
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