Glories is a five man post-rock collective from Birmingham, Alabama who I first had a chance to hear when one of their early songs got featured on the Post Rock community Facebook page (a great resource, by the way). I was quite taken with their sound and, after a very quiet year on the social media front, was quite pleased to see them emerge with new material and a complete album package. The new record, called “Mother Reverb”, features new versions of two of the songs from the early EP and four previously unreleased tracks for a blissful 48 plus minutes of grade A atmospheric post rock.
When it comes to reviewing debut albums in this genre, it is easy to fall back on Explosions in the Sky as a reference point, but in this case it is unavoidable. Glories references EITS heavily and that must be acknowledged. But, that should not imply that they are simply emulating the style of their iconic predecessor. It is clear from the very first track that Glories has their own character and their own melodic voice. I would suggest it is more a case of picking up a torch that EITS themselves have set aside with recent projects, one that shines a light on music painted on a broad canvas that is soaked in reverb and imbued with heroic romanticism offset by longing and melancholy. It is cinematic, without being bomabstic or euphoric. And it is created by the skillful and organic interplay of instruments. These songs are not electronic sound sculptures. They are compositions played by a band pouring emotion into their instruments. After many spins through this album, I came to the realization that I’ve been longing to hear a record like this since “The Earth Is Not a Cold, Dead Place”.
The melodies are sweet, the arrangements are sumptuous, the crescendos are epic, and the spaces in between are filled with delicate and reflective moments. The album opens with the plaintive refrains of a track that appeared on the early EP, ‘Mechanical Mariner’. Within several minutes the first satisfying crescendo kicks in and while the template laid down by EITS is faithfully followed, there are new dynamics layered on thanks to the band having two guitarists and a keyboard player and their own melodic voice which has just a slightly southern Gothic feel to it. Three new tracks follow, the waltz-like ‘Far From Houses, Far From Doors’, the sweeping epic ‘Pagan Holiday’, and and the pensive ‘Dwelling On’. After these, there is a new version of another of the early releases, ‘At This Depth’ which brings the piano front and center for the intro. Finally, the album closes with perhaps the most melancholic and melodic of the songs, the gorgeous ‘Let’s Not Rush Out and Tell Everyone’.
I have a place reserved for “Mother Reverb” on my shortlist of favorite post rock releases at the end of the year. I have found myself going back to it often. And, if you are a fan of the EITS brand of post rock, you really should not miss this. I am not sure anyone is executing that model any better right now than Glories.
The album is currently available as a digital download on Bandcamp or in a limited edition CD package featuring the artwork of Merrilee Challiss that is very modestly priced and would make a nice addition to any collection.