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Alice Glass - PREY//IV (Album Review)

Friday, 04 March 2022 Written by Laura Johnson

Photo: Kristen Jan Wong and Lucas David

Some albums are easy listens, with melodies that wash over you and lyrics that play it safe. ‘PREY//IV’ offers none of those things, in the best possible way. Here Alice Glass delivers disarming industrial backdrops that eviscerate one moment and segue into unexpected territory the next.

Throughout there are sections that lean towards outright pop, cutting against the overarching style in effective fashion. Love Is Violence strips back the aggression to leave chart-ready vocal melodies behind, and Baby Teeth is, at its core, saccharine pop with added bite. Witch Hunt is another Trojan horse, where the dancefloor beats of the verse belie the track’s dark subject matter, which is a recurring theme.

In 2017, Glass released a statement alleging abuse by Ethan Kath, her former bandmate in Crystal Castles. The decade-long trauma and the Canadian artist’s  recovery have understandably bled into the record.

Pinned Beneath Limbs reads like a shopping list of signs to look out for from potential abusers, as does Fair Game, a song that flips perspectives and is told through the eyes of an abuser.

The Hunted, meanwhile, sees Glass take a more defiant stance: “You took a shot in the dark, but you missed my heart, watch the hunter be the hunted.” The track’s skittering beats, animal roar samples and dramatic strings only up the emotional ante. 

Glass’s vocals often recall the vulnerability and power of QueenAdreena’s Katie Jane Garside in their push and pull, moving between attack and defence. They are breathy and delicate before an explosion of raw emotion by way of guttural screams, with cuts such as Suffer and Swallow melding the two states into a whole.

Everybody Else offers some respite with clearer vocals and a trap-esque recurring riff that sounds like a music box from a twisted lullaby, luring you into a false sense of security and allowing Glass to truly take centre stage.

Going solo means everything is now on her own terms, with the album even coming out on her label Eating Glass Records. Throughout ‘PREY//IV’, Glass shows us that being hurt doesn’t have to define or deplete you, and for some it can become the stepping stone to more fertile creative ground.  



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