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Brian Glaze

Green Living

(World Famous In San Francisco; US: 28 Jul 2009; UK: Import)

Brian Glaze’s third solo effort sounds like a college radio station in 1988 playing through a boombox that has moderately functioning tweeters and little else. The press release for the former drummer of the Brian Jonestown Massacre was only half right when it boldly announced, “This record proves that the strength of the song and the highly personal nature of home-demo recordings are tough to improve upon.” The recording quality here is feeble to the point of crippling, which seems to go against the largely Bee-Gees and Clash-inspired chipper drum machine Brit-pop and lo-fi psychedelic songs Brian is so keen to write. As a crafter of tunes, Glaze has a knack for timeless structures and apt instrumentation, but the tin-can production on Green Living stunts the album’s possibilities rather than encourages them. Granted, the BJM recorded entire albums for the price of a slice of pie and a cup of coffee, but the band did not sound cheap to the listener. The BJM sounded vibrant, immediate and necessary.

In a perfect world, Green Living could be the second coming of the Happy Mondays, but it isn’t a perfect world or even a consistently good one. As such, the oppressively flat sound of this album limits it to a modest cult following at best, rather than the NME-mushroom-cloud maker it could otherwise be. “Leader of the Band” is as good as anything Franz Ferdinand ever wrote if it didn’t sound like it was entirely recorded through a set of Behringer headphones to a used cassette. It seems that Glaze aimed to create an unpolished diamond and ended up with a dirty pebble instead. Aim higher next time, brother. You have the goods to pull it off.


Author of blurbs, curator of playlists, and booker of shows, Alan Ranta has been plugging away at that music writing and programming thing since 2004. His brutally honest critical opinion has appeared in such publications as Exclaim!, CBC Music, PopMatters and Tiny Mix Tapes, and has been enlisted to help judge the Polaris Music Prize, Pazz & Jop, and Juno Awards. Based in East Van, he graduated with a BFA in music from Simon Fraser University in 2012. He's also a social media plague, cat whisperer, socio-political haranguer, Canucks fan, and one of the last remaining cowboys, with a butt that won't quit.

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