In these insta-judgment times, it takes a brave band to introduce themselves with a seven- minute track that commences with ninety seconds of slowly evolving instrumentation.
That’s precisely what Bradford newcomers Glass Mountain have done with ‘Glacial’ and it pays off: simply because it’s an immediately stunning track that is too good to hide. It’s a masterful exercise in restraint in which they demonstrate the knack to deploy specific traits - the crunching main riff, a soaring hook and plaintive piano - at the exact moment to maximise their emotional impact.
The rest of the quartet’s debut EP understandably doesn’t match such heady heights, but it still demonstrates considerable potential. Second track ‘Birds In Heart’ begins with the kind of sensitive balladeering that you’d expect to hear at a Communion tour before it amplifies with Superchunk-esque serrated guitars and an echo of Ian Curtis in the vocals (“I considered running away and leaving all this teenage decay”).
Chopping between performance poetry and Floydian flights of evocative soundscapes, ‘Over Thinking’ is the closest they come to a mis-step, but it’s closing crescendo ultimately justifies their evident ambition. Sitting somewhere in the no man’s land of shoegaze and grunge, ‘Medicate’ streamlines their approach, while ‘Home in the Weather’ edges towards replicating the wonders of ‘Glacial’ with subtle strings and late swathes of synths embellishing their multi-layered dynamic. Such touches can be found throughout the EP, with nuanced details hidden deep within the mix.
The ‘Glacial EP’ represents a fine start and one that only hints at what could follow: Glass Mountain might devolve into the kind of piano-led indie-pop that bothers the charts, yet they could equally twist into post-rock noiseniks.
Words: Ben Hopkins
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