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Music Review: Glyder – Playground for Life

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It must have been the luck of the Irish to not only get to meet your musical heroes but, when they preform, to support them on tour. Wicklow’s Glyder did exactly that when they met Scott Gorham and John Sykes of the Emerald Isles legendary Thin Lizzy. Let’s not get too carried away in the comparisons. Sure, Glyder have twin guitars and their lead singer plays the bass but this is a band that knows exactly what they want and how to get it.

Ireland has a fine musical tradition with the likes of Lizzy, U2, Rory, and Horslips, so what of Glyder? Well, Playground for Life is a mighty fine album that not only captures some of that rich heritage but is full of Glyder’s own style, swagger, and sound. Twin guitars are hardly the ground breaking approach they were back when Lizzy got together but, like their heroes, Glyder manage to build a huge wall of distinctive and well crafted musicianship around that foundation.

Playground for Life looks great too. A fairground scene with rather sinister Venice type masks. ‘Come on in’ it beckons. In I go and I am not at all let down. Lizzy are there of course and why not? Why shouldn’t they look up to a giant such as Phil Lynott? Remember, these guys grew up under the green side of his immense shadow but they have written an album of their own material that oozes promise. Quite simply, if this album has somehow dipped under your musical radar – put that right and grab a copy.

Let’s explore the background. County Wicklow – on Ireland’s east coast just below Dublin is home to these guys who got together in 2004. Following the release of their debut album they were busy attracting the attention and support of Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson and soon supporting Thunder. By the summer of 2007, it was time to get back into the studio and Playground for Life was the result.

Playground for Life is a heady and diverse mix of the best of seventies rock, along with some eighties driving riffs and sublime melodies accomplished with superb musicianship. There is a lot going on within this record with each track hooking you in and taking you off on a Glyder ride. From the intoxicatingly melodic opening of “Gamblers Blues” to the driving riffs of “Sweets” and on into the excellent and highly individual “Puppet Queen”, you know you are in for a real treat. There are melodies aplenty on this disc and each one is memorable.

The title track, an album highlight, drips classy maturity. “For Your Skin” is right up there too. Whilst undeniably paying homage to the music they, no doubt, grew up listening to this is no rip off band – but one with a clear direction of their own and a presence. Maybe I’ve just strayed on to the secret here – Glyder have a presence in their music and that is something you can’t buy, steal, or borrow unless you actually have it for yourself.

The swagger of “Walking my own Ground” leads into the very Lizzyesque pair “Dark Meets Light” & “Sleeping Gun”. This is like hearing great music from somewhere in the past and it’s quite a shock to realise that it’s new – all new. The powerful “Over and Over” and the melodic hook that is “The Merrygoround” provide the album with a solid finale and before you know it – you’ve hit replay.

Playground for Life is one of those rare gems, an album from a band that lifts them away from the pack. Glyder are still a well kept secret but on the evidence of this it won’t stay that way much longer.

Watch out for a review on a new EP here on Eurorock. Personally I can’t wait. Visit Glyders Official Web Site and have a listen

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About Jeff Perkins