Thursday, March 13, 2014

Album Review: Glim Dropper - Heartsick Phenomenon

By Guest Blogger, Don Tyler
Don is an aspiring writer living in Pike Creek with his two cats, Sam and Dave. He enjoys finding good coffee and even better live music.

There's been an incredible crop of talent popping up in the Wilmington region in the last couple of years, and one name that keeps coming up is Glim Dropper. This infectious trio from Philly is making a second home in Delaware after two successful performances at The WIlmo Rock Circus in 2012 & 2013, wowing audiences both years. And in September, they took their rightful place as winners of Delaware’s premier music competition, Musikarmageddon, after their second place showing in 2012. And now this…

Simply put, their new album, Heartsick Phenomenon, is an amazing record. The 10 songs on this album are simultaneously fresh and familiar. Driving and dreamy, melodramatic and melodic, it just hits you with hook after hook. Dan Kauffman’s vocals glide across the landscape in smooth arcs in a way that’s both inviting and introspective. Dan’s bass work on the album is surprisingly complex while complementing the arrangements without being overbearing. Live, he handles both of these roles with ease.

Ben Geise uses the guitar to drive the pieces and helps create their overall sound with a smart balance of effects. At times, overdriving riffs are juxtaposed against a wall of delay and reverb that helps draw you into the narrative. For audiophiles, it just creates another layer to the already engaging album. Ben was named WSTW’s Hometown Heroes Best Guitarist two years in a row, and it’s a deserving recognition.

All of this happens over the solid drumming of Rob Schnell. Rob’s drumming is intelligent and a perfect match for Dan and Ben. Finding the right moments to pop, while recognizing when to hold back and let the song do the work. His choices show that drumming is more than just speed or power, though he offers up plenty of both over the course of the album.

Rob kicks things off with the title track, a short welcome to the record that never relaxes in its enthusiasm. They then dive into Shanghai, which dives right into one of their strongest melodies from beat one. They take a dreamy breath that pulls you in during Night Doctor with one of Dan’s most enticing vocal performances, then take it up a notch with The Velvet Way To The Grave. Then comes the unexpected: A beautifully crafted acoustic piece called Hangman that is both haunting and optimistic. Second Sleep is a great complex tune. It ditches any sense of formula and dances around the beat in a way that keeps your guard up. They follow this up with two straightforward songs: the upbeat First World Problems and the mellow intensity of Better Life. Strangelove is for the rhythm addicts. A 12/8 gallop that uses the triplets to fool your brain into thinking it’s in 4/4, and using the intensity of that pulse during the verses to build the tension before resolving back to the 12/8. Brilliance. The album closes with the moody and reflective Another One, which gently lets you down off of this 41-minute ride.

If you haven’t seen Glim Dropper live, I highly suggest it, and when you do, buy this album and hand it to the person next you. Then buy one for yourself.

HIGHLIGHTS: Heartsick Phenomenon; Shanghai, Second Sleep, Strangelove.


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