Glampire - "The Heraldic Universe"
by Marcus Pan
Some photos by Sasha Waldman & Nate @
Glampire is a pissed off entity out of the
stateside Big Apple. They are upset at the decline of creativity in music - at
the loss of memorable songs that remain with a listener forever. "The world
does not need more bland copycats," their website does state. Without fear they
define themselves with yet another genre-crunching label: glambiant. The
past five years of life for Glampire has produced a few releases that have held
somewhat high regard in some circles. The Beginning of Terror hit the
streets in '97 followed by Pretty Scary in '98. They just recently
released an EP, Glitta 99, as a precursor to the October 31 '99 release
date of The Heraldic Universe which I was lucky enough to get an advance
Glampire's musical style is a strange hybrid. Musically
messy at times and somewhat chaotic with a number of musical influences from
predominantly post-punk and pop. With Cure-like extremities and vocal soundings
that I found reminiscent of Alice Cooper, Glampire is an effervescent mix of
weirdness. Musical instruments are squeezed together into a mish-mash sound
with less in the way of polish, but more in the way of attitude. The
combination of glam and goth may seem like a fucked up combination, but its no
different than white face and glitter. It's a glance back to the old looks and
attitudes with a bit of a new-age sound. If Prince and Robert Smith had
offspring it would probably look and sound much like this.
The messy sound of Glampire's
recordings comes from the attempt of squeezing as much creative energy into one
song as possible. Guitar, bass, synthesizers, drum tracks and whining vocals
coalesce together into a sometimes hard-to-follow routine. Preaching and
pushing for a rebirth of originality in music, they shove so much of the same
into one track that it becomes almost overloading on someone trying to decipher
the musical attributes therein. The vocals remain whine-like throughout the CD
with a Veruca* gimme-that-it's-mine tone.
Super Sod is the opening track of The Heraldic
Universe, acoustically strumming with a lot of rhythm tracks. Already you
can hear the multi-instrument combinations coming together and, occasionally,
slamming into one another. It seems like too much on one track. The second
track is Happy Again? The musical style and instrumentation is similar
to the mish-mash Super Sod sound and the lyrics lament, "I'm not gonna
be happy again." Very angst-ridden and too much of a cliché in my
opinion. Track five is My Own God, which also appears on Glitta
99 as well as here. This has a more electric-guitar sound, with a
Prince-like flair and solid bass line. The song is much less wishy-washy than
most others on THU. But again, the track revisits standard subject matter. Some
of the lyrics are hard-hitting and in your face however - "Suck the cock of the
money dog, it might get you paid." That's a great line. But still - it's a song
we've heard before, at least lyrically. And again, track 9, Lie of the
Land discusses the Big Brother aspect of government. It opens with a long
monologue sample that discusses privacy and government infringement upon it.
The album closes with Build A Machine, which is probably my favorite off
of THU. It kicks off with a rant-like monologue, presumably a movie though I
know not from where, condemning the whole monotheist ideal. "And we can all go
fucking pray to the asshole god up there, man, who fucked it all up in the
first place!" A true Marilyn Manson style shock-therapy song.
A return to originality and creativity.
That's the schtick of Glampire. But the creativity needs to be tempered. Every
song can have its own degree of creation rather than all songs being imbued
with so much of this that the sounds get smooshed together. I'd rather hear a
band spread their creative energy out throughout a CD, rather than dump so much
into a single track that it becomes unidentifiable. With the multitude of
combinations that Glampire uses within a single song it steals away from the
meaning because rather than enjoying the song for its musical and lyrical
properties you're busy going, "What was THAT?" Glampire have their mission and
their goal. They are striving for it greatly and I think might even achieve it
someday. But they need to mature a bit, learn to spread out and enfold rather
than grab and squeeze.
* The one from Willy Wonka's Chocolate
Factory. Not the band.
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