posted on October 01, 2007 15:14
Review Snapshot: This melodically ambitious record from former anti-folker shows plenty of scope in relation to the presentation of the songs, yet is let down by repetition of production techniques. Despite this 'Glorious' shows plenty of promise.
The CLUAS Verdict? 7 out of 10
"Always look on the bright side of life", the Monty Python crew advised on their wonderfully upbeat ditty, words that New York's James Levy appears to have taken to heart on his new album.
Though his day job may be filling out burial forms for Jewish cemeteries, Levy maintains a positive outlook, as evidenced by the title track which opens the record. "God bless the world, it's glorious" goes the chorus and as an opening statement of intent it's pretty impressive; full of strings, jangly guitars and an 80s style sheen which veers towards the epic.
While he may have made his name as part of the anti-folk movement (Moldy Peaches et al) Levy steers clear of their ramshackle approach to songwriting & production, going for the jugular with emotive rock ('So Hard', 'Your Demise') and piano-laden balladry on 'Love And Pain'.
At certain points throughout the album, particularly on 'Holy Water', Levy also betrays the same knack for muffled vocals and melodic guitar lines that his hometown peers, The Strokes, are (or were!) reknowned for.
Unfortunately, despite touching on a number of stylistic reference points and showing awareness of concise song structure, 'Glorious' is let down by the production. When it works to serve the song- as on the title track- there is no doubt that it is beneficial, yet when a similar polish appears on song after song it only dulls the impact of the album, giving it a samey-samey feel. However, despite these misgivings, Levy has shown a flair for melody which should serve him well on subsequent albums.
To buy a new or (very reasonably priced) 2nd hand copy of this album on Amazon just click here.