Euphoric Heartbreak

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Scottish alt-rockers Glasvegas' 2008 debut landed the brooding Glaswegians a Mercury Prize nomination. Glasvegas' winning but not-so-subtle amalgamation of U2, Echo & the Bunnymen, Joy Division, late-period Depeche Mode, and the Jesus and Mary Chain hinted at a band that was ready to make a go of it, and their simple, earnest lyrics, as filtered through the thick yet sweet brogue of frontman James Allan, had listeners swooning, despite all of the band's sonic redundancies. Written, demoed, and tracked at a beach house in Santa Monica, California before undergoing final production under the direction of producer Flood in London, Euphoric Heartbreak keeps the fire burning, but feeds it only the wispiest of kindling. Like their Welsh counterparts, the Joy Formidable, Glasvegas have their sights set clearly on the upper bowl of the stadium, but where TJF manage to fill that space with an unholy, hook-filled racket, Glasvegas tend to let the moment fizzle. At its most immediate, like on the standout tracks “Shine Like Stars,” the Disintegration-era Cure-inspired “Whatever Hurts You Through the Night,” and the soaring title cut, the latter of which would sit snugly amidst the teenage ruin of a John Hughes prom scene, the band sounds ready for battle, but too much time is spent slogging through the swamps of defeat, many of which are adorned with forgettable choruses and melodies that arrive at dead ends, only to bash themselves against the wall hoping for some kind of merciful respite.

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