Glasvegas: Epic Rock Gets Stripped Bare

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Glasvegas (300)

hide captionFor its session at The Current, Glasvegas stripped down to a two-piece.

Eamon Coyne/Minnesota Public Radio

In recent years, some of my favorite bands have hailed from Scotland: The Fratellis, Franz Ferdinand and most recently Glasvegas among them. I've interviewed many different people and bands from everywhere in the world — and traveled extensively myself — yet still find myself rendered completely stupid when coming up against a strong Glasgow accent.

I prepared for Glasvegas' session with more than my usual amount of questions, realizing that 90 percent of the time I wouldn't be able to follow up on their answers. It's like modern art in a way: You can appreciate it as much as you want, but that doesn't mean you're going to understand it.

Lyrically, Glasvegas' members don't shy away from personal subject matter. James Allan will admit that it's his own cheating heart that makes him cry, but in the end, he's not that sorry about it. However, he swears not everything is autobiographical — for example, he's never been a female social worker named Geraldine.

That close connection with the lyrics does carry over to his singing. The vocals are passionate and immediate, with just the right amount of urgency, while remaining aloof enough not to seem desperate.

The full band's live sound is large, with big guitars, keyboards and a drummer who plays standing up. Having them play stripped-down in studio, with just the two guitars, hinted at the possibility of just how epic these songs actually are.

They sat wearing dark shades throughout the interview and performance, which freaks me out a little; it made it more of a challenge to connect. Add this challenge to the fact that I could only make out every fourth word. That's where their music comes in, connecting me in all the right ways — romantic, personal and epic-sounding — without requiring me to see into their eyes or understand every word.

As people, they were warm and friendly, though they could've been telling me to take a flying leap and I wouldn't have known the difference.

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Glasvegas [Bonus Tracks]

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  • Album: Glasvegas [Bonus Tracks]
  • Artist: Glasvegas
  • Label: Columbia
  • Released: 2009
 

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