Gladshot – Stand (CD)

Bringing back the sound of Matthew Sweet may not be the best idea, but Gladshot is able to create a disc of hits that walk along the same path. Mike’s vocals are all the instrumentation that Stand needs, as all the rest of the instrumentation is definitely secondary. Deborah’s piano lines, especially noticed in a track like “Hotel Room” are warm, earthy, and emotional, adding a second aural presence to the disc. “Dead Ends and the Glory” is along long look back at the innocuous power-pop of the early nineties, where bands like Barenaked Ladies and Sloan had an iron grip on the radio waves, bubbling up during the grunge revolution but finally getting its respect afterwards. Silky-smooth, Mike’s voice is at least as musical as Deborah’s piano is vocal, making the average track on Stand perfect college-rock fare. The disc screeches to a turtle’s crawl when Deborah actually takes vocal responsibilities on the muted “Hallways & Doors / Crumbling Wall”, breaking the string of light-hearted singalong tracks established in the first fourth of the CD.

Recalling the best of REM and Soul Asylum for “Reckoning”, the intertwining of Mike and Deborah’s vocals provides a different iteration of the pop music on the rest of the disc. What really is nice to see that Gladshot uses a full band to play a style of music that is traditionally only played by backwards-baseball cap wearing fratboys with acoustics. Now, the traditional purveyors of the music would be more than fine doing what they want with the musical style, if the acoustic just wasn’t so hollow and empty compared to the piano/guitar solo of Gladshot, perfected during “Coming Around Again”. “Sunshine Hotel” is a more up-beat track, with Deborah taking primary vocal responsibilities but using the sultry, jazz-like voice of eirs to provide a more R&B-themed track.

Gladshot, while still having some deep roots in the alternative rock of America’s collective past, are still able to create music that is compelling enough for individuals of the current day to pick up and be completely into. Musically talented, able to arrange circles around the vast majority of artists currently out, Gladshot can make a simple two-part harmony (Fallen) one of the most beautiful things heard. Pick up Gladshot if you either went to college in the early to mid nineties or are a fan of well-written, well-played music.

Top Tracks: That Joe Is Gone, Sunshine Hotel

Rating: 7.0/10

Gladshot – Stand / 2004 Frankly Mills Music / 12 Tracks / http://www.gladshot.com / gladshot@franklymills.com / Reviewed 30 July 2004

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