Music

Glint: Mode to Joy

while Glint's humble, nice-guy act is a bit refreshing in an industry dominated by ego, the band would truly soar if it removed the shackles of its own making and just careened in every direction.


Glint

Mode to Joy

Label: Rely
US Release Date: 2007-01-16
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon
iTunes

This is the music of people with ideas and ideals, music created by fans of music unwilling to confine themselves to a single style or audience, songs with the common goal of inspiration and revelation. It's the type of album that makes you want to stop what you're doing, pick up that instrument you stopped playing in middle school, and join a band. Whether singing about weighty topics or vague nothings, there's a joy in Glint's performance that puts most of the bands on modern rock radio to shame.

Appropriately enough, the band's debut full length is called Mode to Joy, and at 14 tracks and over 70 minutes, it's a beast. Even so, it's the kind of album that's inoffensive enough to have playing in the background while you're doing other things, like checking expense reports or ironing shirts, background noise for the quiet, menial tasks of an everyday existence, while the few moments in which attention shifts to the music inevitably lead to a head-nod, the humming of a somehow familiar melody, or even just a knowing smile.

The interesting thing about Mode to Joy is that Glint doesn't achieve this sort of universal appeal with music that could accurately be classified as "happy" -- on the contrary, much of it is pretty somber, while some even borders on sinister. There's a song smack dab in the middle of the album called "Selfless Convulsion" which is just as dramatic and spastic as you'd think, though quite well put together and smoothly produced. The song builds off a huge descending motif from a brass ensemble over insistent electric guitars and drums that careen wildly between 3-3-2 patterns and straight-up 4-4s. Lead vocalist Jase Blankfort wails like a perturbed cross between Raine Maida and Chris Martin, pushing the song forward even as it threatens to fall apart all around him. And yet, for all the drama, there's a panache to the performance that tells its listeners "you're in good hands; listen and be satisfied." And we are.

The primary strength and weakness of Glint is its universality. This is a band obviously not afraid to go against the conventions that their nice-rock roots stick them to. A mere three songs into the album, we are met with the wonderfully catchy and earnest "Kro", an oblique ode to the homophonically titular bird that lasts a solid seven-and-a-half minutes. Much of it sounds as safe as a middle-of-the-road Foo Fighters track, but the fact that it lasts as long as it does is consistently surprising, as it never acts like an epic, and the extended instrumental section in the middle never sounds as though it's trying to be more than a bridge. It's merely a pop song in an epic's body, an extended radio track housed in the shell of a deep cut.

A scant three tracks later, the band drops the guitars and puts together a slightly less alienated version of a Radiohead synth cut, all ghostly, whistle-ly noises on top of insistent, squelchy synth pads, and yet, the melodies and Blankfort's vocals still draw the humanity out of it. The song is called "One of a Kind," and while it's far from that, exactly ("Umbrella" busts out the synths one more time in a decidedly subtler way), it is a decent one-track departure into synth-rock.

The problem with all this, then, is that despite the variety that is quite clearly presenting itself, there is a pervasive sense of the ordinary that seeps through much of Mode to Joy. It's as if even amongst all of this variety and strong songwriting, Glint's members want us to know they're just like us. Honestly, it works in an intimate, coffee shop sort of way, but it's hard to escape the feeling that this is a band destined for something bigger, that while the humble, nice-guy act is a bit refreshing in an industry dominated by ego, Glint would truly soar if they removed the shackles of their own making and just careened in every direction with no eye on a common sound. It would be the same four people creating all of the songs; the common sound would come. On the way to that sound could be something truly epic and world-shaking.

For now, we have the joy and the love, and there's plenty to be said for those things. There's no reason Glint couldn't be the next indie-band-made-good; go ahead, grab a copy of Mode to Joy, and nudge them in that direction.

6
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Music

12 Essential Performances from New Orleans' Piano "Professors"

New Orleans music is renowned for its piano players. Here's a dozen jams from great Crescent City keyboardists, past and present, and a little something extra.

Music

Jess Williamson Reimagines the Occult As Source Power on 'Sorceress'

Folk singer-songwriter, Jess Williamson wants listeners to know magic is not found in tarot cards or mass-produced smudge sticks. Rather, transformative power is deeply personal, thereby locating Sorceress as an indelible conveyor of strength and wisdom.

By the Book

Flight and Return: Kendra Atleework's Memoir, 'Miracle Country'

Although inconsistent as a memoir, Miracle Country is a breathtaking environmental history. Atleework is a shrewd observer and her writing is a gratifying contribution to the desert-literature genre.

Music

Mark Olson and Ingunn Ringvold Celebrate New Album With Performance Video (premiere)

Mark Olson (The Jayhawks) and Ingunn Ringvold share a 20-minute performance video that highlights their new album, Magdalen Accepts the Invitation. "This was an opportunity to perform the new songs and pretend in a way that we were still going on tour because we had been so looking forward to that."

Music

David Grubbs and Taku Unami Collaborate on the Downright Riveting 'Comet Meta'

Comet Meta is a brilliant record full of compositions and moments worthy of their own accord, but what's really enticing is that it's not only by David Grubbs but of him. It's perhaps the most emotive, dream-like, and accomplished piece of Grubbsian experimental post-rock.

Music

On Their 2003 Self-Titled Album, Buzzcocks Donned a Harder Sound and Wore it With Style and Taste

Buzzcocks, the band's fourth album since their return to touring in 1989, changed their sound but retained what made them great in the first place

Reading Pandemics

Chaucer's Plague Tales

In 18 months, the "Great Pestilence" of 1348-49 killed half of England's population, and by 1351 half the population of the world. Chaucer's plague tales reveal the conservative edges of an astonishingly innovative medieval poet.

Music

Country's Jaime Wyatt Gets in Touch With Herself on 'Neon Cross'

Neon Cross is country artist Jaime Wyatt's way of getting in touch with all the emotions she's been going through. But more specifically, it's about accepting both the past and the present and moving on with pride.

Music

Counterbalance 17: Public Enemy - 'It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back'

Hip-hop makes its debut on the Big List with Public Enemy’s meaty, beaty manifesto, and all the jealous punks can’t stop the dunk. Counterbalance’s Klinger and Mendelsohn give it a listen.

Music

Sondre Lerche and the Art of Radical Sincerity

"It feels strange to say it", says Norwegian pop artist Sondre Lerche about his ninth studio album, "but this is the perfect time for Patience. I wanted this to be something meaningful in the middle of all that's going on."

Books

How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.

Film

From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.