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The Glow, Pt. 2

Microphones

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Album Review

While It Was Hot We Stayed in the Water expanded the Microphones' lo-fi, psych pop horizons, their 66-minute epic The Glow, Pt. 2 marks an even bigger departure. Named after It Was Hot's sprawling centerpiece, the album explores and explodes styles and moods over the course of 20 songs that lead into one another breathlessly, as if even an hour simply isn't enough time for Phil Elvrum and company to pack in all of their ideas. The album revels in its kaleidoscopic sounds, spanning pastoral folky ballads, playful symphonic pop, and gusts of white noise. Flourishes like the steel drums on the title track and the double-tracked vocals and xylophones on "The Map" make The Glow, Pt. 2 something of a rarity: a lo-fi album designed for headphones. The distorted drums, murky organs, and crisp acoustic guitars that punctuate the album have an oversaturated, almost tangible quality that, while dense, never overwhelms Elvrum's fragile voice or poetic lyrics. The beautiful acoustic ballad "I Felt Your Shape" cautions against holding on too tight to someone, literally or figuratively; "I Am Bored" sets the boredom of a dying relationship to noisy fuzz pop. But it's The Glow, Pt. 2's deep, nearly spiritual yearning that makes it the Microphones' most compelling album to date. Vague, strangely hymnal lyrics like "Through rotting skin I'll leave my coffin/Through callous work I will grow soft," from "I'll Not Contain You," resonate emotionally, albeit cryptically. At times, The Glow, Pt. 2 resembles My Bloody Valentine's Isn't Anything ("I Want to Be Cold") and His Name Is Alive's Home Is in Your Head (especially on the instrumentals); like those bands' best work, the album is dense with musical quick-changes, production tricks, and evocative imagery. Expansive yet accessible, indulgent yet unpretentious, The Glow, Pt. 2 redefines the Microphones' fascinatingly contradictory music.

Customer Reviews

So good

This is possibly one of the best albums ever made.

See: Groobells review

I completely agree wholeheartedly and without reservations. It perplexes me that In the Aeroplane over the Sea gets so much love while The Glow pt. 2 goes relatively unnoticed by the majority of people I know; what is even stranger is that the album was picked as Pitchfork's #1 album of 2001, a year that gave us Since I Left You, Confield, Is This It, Amnesiac, Hot Shots II, White Blood Cells, and The Cold Vein-some of the greatest albums of the entire decade, and this one won!

Buy it now. That's all I really have to say. You'll love it, start to finish, and you really need to get the album as it is one of those gapless mixes that flows from one song to the next effortlessly.

Awesome Indie

Anyone who gives this less than 5 stars are the people I worry about when it comes to music. This is truly awesome stuff. GET. IT. ALL. Right now. For real. The songs (movements) build up to one huge song. If you love indie and are missing this album then you're just missing out.

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The Microphones was the alias of Anacortes, WA-based lo-fi psych-pop mastermind Phil Elvrum, also known for his work as a member of K Records bands D+ and Old Time Relijun. Following a series of cassettes on the local Knw-Yr-Own label, including Wires and Cords, Tests, and a self-titled effort, the Microphones issued their first full-length effort, also titled Tests, on the Elsinor label in the autumn 1999. Don't Wake Me Up appeared on K the next summer, followed in 2000 by Window and It Was Hot...
Full Bio