Thursday, February 24, 2011
[theprp.com] Let’s face it, fan outcry has practically become synonymous with Glassjaw in recent years. A much rumored acrimonious, and simultaneously protracted, departure from Warner Bros. Records saw new material from the group delayed to near “Chinese Democracy” proportions.
A series of extremely limited edition 7″ releases from the band were likely intended to ease concerns, but instead caused more uproar with many proclaiming them to be a nickel and dime tactic.
Eventually the material from the 7″ outings was compiled into a digital EP and most figured that would be the end of it until the now near-mythical (to the fanboys at least) new album from the group finally surfaced – that is of course until they decided to give away this, an all-new six song EP as a bonus to those who attended their early 2011 headlining tour.
Although many of the included tracks had been performed live prior, these studio recordings are easily the best representation of what Glassjaw have now become. For “Coloring Book” is a bold step forward, one that sees the band emerge from their scrappy, antagonistic post hardcore roots and blossom into a different beast altogether.
Much like the Deftones before them, Glassjaw now seem more intent on exploring musical texture, open space and sublime melancholy. The group achieve this through a number of haunting tones, subtle instrumental augmentation and oddly enough, a heavy dub influence manifested through the ever-intoxicating basslines of Manny Carrero.
To be sure Glassjaw are no longer the wounded animal that would aggressively lash out at every turn. Band frontman Daryl Palumbo readily illustrates this newfound zen with a highly melodic, almost scream-free performance. But as odd as it may be for a group who once thrived on chaos, it is this stability and focus that allows them to flourish and express themselves through a much broader range of color and influences.
Whether it be the shrill guitar tones that recall some of the more adventurous outfits of the early 80′s British pop movement (the solo on “Stations Of The New Cross” being a prime example.) Or the sonic entanglement wrought by the The Mars Volta on horse tranquilizers-like “Vanilla Poltergeist Snake“; “Coloring Book” exhibits the most expansive spectrum of musical experimentation from the band to date.
What really sets this EP apart from their previous work though is the depth of the songs. There’s been considerable thought invested in structuring and aural accentuation. Each fill, riff or haunting key embellishment all seems to have been planned out in great detail prior. Surprising it is then that the end result almost always maintains an organic flair flush with heartfelt sentiment, despite the more layered approach.
An impressive growth spurt that has seen them emerge more mature and capable than ever before, “Coloring Book” finds Glassjaw representing themselves with an impressively revised palette. One that looks fully equipped to help them paint an entirely new masterpiece altogether.
4.5 / 5
Posted by Dan Goldin at 6:33 PM