September 10, 2008
Geoff Farina is Glorytellers. Oh ok so he’s not entirely alone here, extra guitarists come and go and somebody gently strokes at a slimmed-down drum-set throughout, but really this is Farina’s baby. Now for the few people who recognise the dude’s name (almost certainly because the main man also fronted Karate and The Secret Stars) that might be quite exciting news. For everybody else it’ll mean nothing. But that doesn’t mean anyone should ignore this record.
What with the minimal roster at work ‘Glorytellers’ was never going to tick boxes for volume or distortion but, inspired by America’s rich, road-weary blues history, this is a record that doesn’t once have to shout or scream to get the job done. Opener ‘Camouflage’ tells a story so fast but so softly that it’ll have any listener leaning closer to their stereo, ‘Awake At The Wheel’ is about as dark as the numbers here come but never breaks above a whisper and some brisk Spanish means ‘Trovato Suono’ ends up sounding like something the house band in From Dusk ‘Til Dawn would play. Just without the amps and the vampirism.
However, just because the volume knob stays facing down and the influences are maybe a hundred years old at times doesn’t mean this is ever dull or redundant. ‘Quarantine’ soaks up jazz, soul, and some smartly poetic influences but kicks more lively than anything here, ‘Pry’ feels like its already arrived at the serene, sun-baked place Minus The Bear are headed for and ‘Exclusive Hurricanes’ sounds like Foo Fighters at their finest and most sedate. Whatever the era a song here might beg or borrow from though, everything simmers and occasionally even sizzles with wonderfully effective flavour.
In the end, this record, and the band pulling its strings, might be too quiet, too calm, or just too damn nice too get as far as it should do. It should be the soundtrack to every late-night road trip ever. But you get the feeling that playing to a few half-full rooms around the world and nestling in the hearts of a few thousand indie fans is all that Glorytellers would hope for anyway. Job done. And then some. -S.T.