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Glasvegas - Godspeed (Album Review)

Monday, 19 April 2021 Written by Graeme Marsh

Taking some seven years to complete, Glasvegas’s fourth album is the first where frontman James Allan has taken control of just about everything. From the songwriting to the recording, producing, mixing, he’s done it all, having spent the years since the release of ‘Later…When the TV Turns to Static’ learning the ropes as he went along.

‘Godspeed’ arrives an unusual eight months after the release of its lead single, the relic Keep Me A Space. It’s typical Glasvegas, instantly accessible with a soaring climax as the band deliver what we already half expect. Allan claimed some time ago that the album was crafted like a car journey, a drive to nowhere in particular, and that’s how it often comes across.

The brief interludes Parked Car (Exterior) and Parked Car (Interior) offer little beyond incidental filler but Cupid’s Dark Disco, which follows the latter, taps into the familiar Glasvegas formula and sounds as great as it has done in the past, but it lacks a point of difference.

The absence of a distinct personality epitomises the aimlessness of finding yourself on the road without a set destination in mind.

Glasvegas have always had a penchant for cinematic emotional turmoil, and that boils over on the closing title track. Here Allan’s vocal gymnastics reach a new level, with the reflective lyrics telling us “together we lived, together we died”. He overcooks the recipe, though, as if forcing the issue. In My Mirror is better, but still guilty of being overly dramatic and the balance the band have achieved so perfectly before is not quite there.

Shake the Cage (für Theo) bolts off down a new avenue but its blend of spoken word and building intensity seems garbled—Born Slippy it ain’t. Angular guitars and a driving rhythm section bolster the far superior Dying to Live, a woozy tale about heroin, but the excellent Dive is the best of the lot, engulfing the listener in a gorgeous wall of sound.

There’s a lot of huffing and puffing evident throughout ‘Godspeed’ and ultimately it feels like a sugar-coated pill that’s still bitter. Superficially pleasant, as all the band’s albums are, it reveals its true nature when the sweetness dissolves. It has its moments but, sadly, they’re more fleeting than usual.

Glasvegas Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu February 03 2022 - HOLMFIRTH Picturedrome
Fri February 04 2022 - LEEDS Warehouse
Sat February 05 2022 - LIVERPOOL Arts Club
Mon February 07 2022 - BIRMINGHAM Asylum
Tue February 08 2022 - BRIGHTON Chalk
Wed February 09 2022 - LONDON Garage
Fri February 11 2022 - READING Sub89
Sat February 12 2022 - BRISTOL Thekla
Sun February 13 2022 - NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms
Tue February 15 2022 - MANCHESTER Manchester Gorilla
Wed February 16 2022 - SHEFFIELD Foundry
Thu February 17 2022 - NEWCASTLE Newcastle University Students Union
Thu February 24 2022 - GLASGOW SWG3 Galvanizers

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