A Sunny Day In Glasgow
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"Failure," the heady, glimmering fourth track on A Sunny Day in Glasgow's second full-length, 2009's Ashes Grammar, might just sum up the anxiety that led to the release of this album: "Fall forward, feel failure." In the two years since their 2007 debut came out, ASDIG have endured some serious (and largely involuntary) changes: bassist Brice Hickey was out of commission soon after recording was underway thanks to a broken leg; founding vocalist Lauren Daniels, busy with grad school, couldn't appear on the album; and her sister, vocalist Robin, was too busy tending to Hickey to spend much time in the studio. In spite of these setbacks, Ashes Grammar is a far more confident and cohesive album than its predecessor. Scribble Mural's ambitious multi-layered approach tended to weigh the album down; Ashes Grammar's artsy audio explorations, on the other hand, are generally fashioned around solid skeletons of pop-oriented hooks, lightening the listening experience considerably. This album features some of ASDIG's most pop-oriented work to date; tissuey, ghostly tracks like "Shy" and "Ashes Maths" and the comparatively angular, My Bloody Valentine-esque "The White Witch" stand up well next to Scribble Mural's very best moments. Really, the only complaint to be had with Ashes Grammar is its size. This disc is huge, almost self-indulgently so; clocking in at 22 tracks, Ashes Grammar demands quite a bit more patience than the average long-player, especially when it comes to cerebral, atmospheric material like this. The album's standout tracks suffer a little as a result — by the time track 14 rolls around, it's a little difficult to hang on to the pounding exhilaration of "Failure." Those who power through this album, though, will be richly rewarded by ASDIG's diaphanous, highly intelligent take on noise pop.
Upon first listen, I tried to tell myself that Scribble Mural Comic Journal was far superior, and while some part of that might be true, Ashes Grammar is a much more varied listen. The same pop-meets-shoegaze sensibilities are there, but there's been more emphasis on the pop aspects of song construction here. Attention to detail shimmers with every gauzy track. Repetitive, building and on par with MBV's Loveless as far as I'm concerned as the pinnacle of A Sunny Day In Glasgow's career so far.
This album is everything I was hoping it would be. For over an hour you are pushed and pulled between nostalgia and joy. Brilliant. It's easy to compare this to JAMC or MBV but I think SDIG are taking those influences and really doing something entirely unique and wonderful.
Perfect Shoegaze-y Goodness
A perfect blend of Lush and The Jesus and Mary Chain, A Sunny Day In Glasgow have presented a lovely bit of music here. This album is vibrant, pulsing - a perfect backdrop for twilight. Download it and bliss out, kids.
Formed: 2006 in Philadelphia, PA
Years Active: '00s, '10s
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