The first time I heard Gliss was on KCRW out of Santa Monica, CA. Driving guitar licks, a thumping bass line, and thrashing drum jams is the signature sound of this three-person band. A twist for Gliss that sets them apart is that all three; Martin, Victoria, and David can, and do, swap instruments. What I'm saying is that Victoria plays drums, guitar, and bass and this goes for Martin and David also. So Gliss has the talent, but do they have the sound to match?
The first track off Love The Virgins is a song called "I Want You". It has an ominous tone to it, with its synthesizer intro that gently brings in the guitar and bass chords. As the drums pick up the beat, the song comes alive with either Martin or David's voice. The liner notes don't let you know who’s on first here, so I can't be to sure who is singing and who's on what instrument. The voices of both men are different, and you can tell right off the bat. The voice in the second track, "Huh, What?" has a higher pitch to it, but blends well with this type of song. The bass and drums are banging hard as the guitar rips through the beat and connects the singer to the song. "You gotta grab that oar/ you gotta settle the score" is sung over a rapping sound of the snare drum, giving this song the fuel that lifts it off the ground and sends it on a roaring trip.
Although the sound feels like it’s coming in from a different orbit, the root all 12 tracks have is a rock and roll rhythm that keeps each note on the right beat. Beneath that raw rock sound, lay the pedigree of a down-to-earth rock band. "Blue Sky" displays this concept fairly well. It has a steady beat with the bass and guitar jamming along, never straying far from the rhythm. Drum rolls bridge the gap between the melody and the chorus with winding string chords following the same path.
"Falling to Pieces" brings out the darker side of these three talented individuals. The beat is almost waltz-like, as the guitar plays out more like a crying violin, and though the song’s tempo is somewhat melancholy, the soul of the vocals gives this tune its pain as stated in the title. A pain everyone has felt at one time or another. "Kissing The Boulevard" also has that dark love lost feel to it. Its beat is more up-tempo than the previous track, yet the vocals really bring out the sadness. "Life means nothing when you're talking to her you can't understand/ life means nothing when you just can't find it/ love."
From what I understand, this is their first full length CD, if so, wow! Hearing them briefly on the radio got me interested, but this CD has made me a fan. If one were to mix Sonic Youth with Love and Rockets, that would be very close to the music that Gliss brings. I hate doing that, comparing or whatever, but those are two of my favorite bands, and Gliss is starting to become another.
Love The Virgins is a great album and it definitely deserves a listen to, by anyone with an ear for a fresh vibe. Gliss brings us into their world, one of contrasting sounds of hard and soft, all within the perimeters of rock and roll. I can't wait for their next one.
Written by Fumo Verde