I had no idea what I was in for when I popped Hourglass into my stereo, but that’s how I wanted it. I wanted my first listening experience to be untarnished by the opinions of others. Remember, I knew nothing about the band before listening to them.
The first song gave me the impression that they were a young band figuring out their sound. The album has a huge variety, from heavy hitting bass and loud guitar to soft lyrical pieces with carefully arranged harmonies. It felt like they didn’t know what they liked better. Their music had the feel of a garage band. It sounded like the type of music you’d get from a friend who heard the band at a party. The reason I say this is because many of the vocals aren’t in synch with one another, making them sound unrefined. The lyrics also sounded amateurish and too simple at times. The guitar solo towards the end of “What’s In Your Heart” was too long for my taste and not well suited to the song. It reminded me of Marty’s infamous guitar solo in Back to the Future, where he goes berserk, confusing the rest of the band and ending in stunned silence. Okay, so it wasn’t that bad, but I would have preferred a shorter solo.
If my remarks have given you the impression that I didn’t like the album, you’re dead wrong. It’s baffling I know, but in spite of the negatives, I liked the album. I like the fact that it’s not overproduced and doesn’t have a manufactured, fake sound. This is real rock n’ roll. When you listen to them sing, it’s as if you’re in the same room singing along. Speaking of which, on the way home from work I was harmonizing with the song as I often do and realized the harmony I had come up with was identical to what they were singing. Now how can you dislike a band with such impeccable taste?
My favorite song by far is “Image.” It has a mystical, wistful feeling that I can’t get enough of. The lyrics add even more meaning to the song, discussing the image that people try to fit into when their true personality is being obscured.
These aren’t cookie-cutter songs calculated to make a buck. This is thought-provoking music that is meaningful and palpable. Like a good pair of jeans, the songs get better over time.
I have yet to think of a similar band. At first they sounded like Weezer, then Crosby, Stills and Nash and then Peter, Paul and Mary (well, sans Mary). Even that list of groups doesn’t do them justice. I’m just going to have to face the facts; they sound like Glass Harp. However, in this reviewer’s opinion, the sounds of Glass Harp is well worth a listen.