[24 February 2008]
Glorious Monster’s itchy and propulsive rhythms steer Adventures on Earth clear of a ponderous morass. But that’s where their moody, electro-pop debut appeared to be heading, mostly because of Brian Casey’s languid lyricism. Casey is a young songwriter who gets in over his head tackling the ills of capitalism (“Designed to Survive”), unstable love (“In the Movies”), and existential uncertainty (every song) all at once. And when he drops an overwrought clunker like “Am I a brain / Or is my brain me / Consciousness or biology?”, the need for energy and movement is most pronounced. That’s what the rhythms here supply. They break the overcast tedium. On the opener “Now You Are”, shifty and crisply off-beat percussion keeps Casey’s falsetto afloat and leads the song in its buildup. The ghostly “Sunrise Surprise” rumbles forward, but is still too murky until the chorus’ punchy handclap effects kick in and puncture the haze. Adventures on Earth often follows this pattern—medium-boil sonics that gradually take on a layered form. The lyrical self-seriousness doesn’t help the transition but, to their benefit, Glorious Monster’s emphasis lies elsewhere.