A Sunny Day in Glasgow - Ashes Grammar
From rapid-boil kettles to omnipresent wireless broadband, the 21st century has proven itself to be one of instant gratification - much to the detriment of up-and-coming musicians everywhere. These days, no sooner is a debut EP or album mixed down, than it's hoovered up by the tastemakers and over-enthused bloggers - while follow-ups are chewed and spat out, left to flounder in a sea of lukewarm-at-best reviews and “Two for £10” stickers.
A Sunny Day In Glasgow were part of that indie darling set of 2007, their debut Scribble Mural Comic Journal attracting acclaim from all the right corners of the web - but all the web wants now is for the other shoe to drop. Who will be the first Tapes ‘n Tapes of 2009? Though the recording was fraught with line-up changes owing to university and a broken leg, Ashes Grammar is the most self-assured sonic statement the Philadelphia dream poppers have made yet. Sure, it’s slow to start - but once the Cocteau Twins-via-Animal Collective tribal thump of Failure kicks in, it doesn’t let up.
After Close Chorus lulls the listener into a daydream, each subsequent song serves to heighten the immersion. On Shy, the only thing pinning the gorgeously ethereal vocals from Annie Fredrickson to the ground is the driving motorik beat. Scattered across the album’s 22 tracks are short mood pieces - which, rather than breaking the stride, act as little bookmarks for key songs, highlighting certain loops and motifs. But by far the most remarkable thing about A Sunny Day In Glasgow’s latest is that it packs the same emotional weight as genre touchstones (Deserter’s Songs, Loveless) but without the usual trappings of artistic vanity and studio excess. I wonder… is 2009 a leap year for second album syndrome?