Must Have CD's

by Donn Swaby



Gliss: Devotion Implosion

Following their debut cd, Love and Virgins, the uber-cool Los Angles band Gliss (Martin Klingman - vocalist/drummer Martin Klingman, bassist Victoria Cecilia, and guitarist David Reiss) has just released Devotion Implosion, a delightfully hazy, psychedelic wall of sound, full of hypnotic beats, catchy pop-melodies, big-bottomed, fuzzy bass lines, warm, trippy ambient noise, and haunting lyrics sung in Klingman’s disaffected, heroine-junky-chic voice.

At once romantic and lustfully trashy, alternating between dark and blissful, Gliss’ sound does not seem to be produced from the efforts of long hard hours consciously crafting each song, but rather from a more decidedly organic, flowing, process of experimentation that allows the songs to breath while expressing beautiful chaos. The result is a sensually sonic soup of instantly infectious musical vibrations and joyous chaos that’s sure to garner many more fans for this fast-rising band.



PJ Harvey and John Parish: A Man a Woman Walked By

Following her 1996 collaboration with producer/band member John Parish, PJ Harvey again units her words with Parish’s music for her latest release, A Man a Woman Walked By. For the fans who expect Harvey to display some of her trademark feminine defiance vocally delivered, warts and all, with vulnerability, passion, and a complete absence of inhibition, this recent musical offering does not disappoint. Full of both emotional and textural hills and valleys as well as unexpected transitions and perhaps intentionally jarring juxtapositions.

Harvey, having to only focus here on lyrics and singing, freely explores a wide spectrum of vocal output arising from a seemingly never ending well of emotional recall. Simultaneously, Parish uses sparse arrangements that tend to hi-light certain instruments while creating engaging dissonance when paired with Harvey’s varied vocal melodies. Harvey sounds sultry and ethereal on tracks like Black Hearted Love, The Chair, and Passionless, Pointless, the vocals heavy with sustain and echo. Parish’s use of a screeching ukulele on the first song, a cacophony of drums, distorted guitar, and eerie keyboards in the second, and the dreamy, musical melancholia created for the third are perfectly paired with Harvey‘s delivery. But then Harvey goes completely in another direction on the title track and on Pig Will Not, letting her inner animal wail, scream, howl, moan, and bark over a primal drum beat and a rude, grungy guitar that abruptly gives way to a solo of lonely piano chords. In the verse sections of the track April, Harvey’s husky voice, dancing lazily over an organ melody, is at times so delightfully scratchy and laid back she almost sounds like Macy Gray.

By the cd’s end, I felt as if I’d been on an intense roller coaster ride through perpetually changing landscapes of light and shadow locked in a tug-of-war dance. The dance is a beautifully created and definitely worth a spin.


For more "Must Have CD's" click here to view back issues.



© Melt Magazine 2009