Glume = Joy Division + a whisper of Angelo Badalamenti
Tyler Tovey gives us a little gloom to help shove us into the colder seasons. Tovey’s shoegaze-y, vocal style of turning voice into a whisper, hiss and a hush allows crisp synth lines to set the tone and drive the momentum of the record. The EP clocks in at 10:38, with its post-punk and new wave influences fully on display. The tricky part of wearing your influences on your sleeve is avoiding making your art feel like an echo of something old and instead reinterpreting it into something interesting and new. Tovey does just that—hell, he titled the album Redefined Displeasures.
Glume offers four tracks that stand alone like chapters in a book, unleashing bass/drumbeats that break perfectly over synth lines and provide a touch of mystery riding underneath all of these songs. The track “Someone” starts with a new wave kick that tilts early into a haunting breakup. “The days when it was us and nobody else / Our lives in a frame and hung up on a shelf,” Tovey sings, “To forever last throughout the days / as you and I forever fade away.” At the the beginning of “Bored of Me,” we hear Kate Winslett speak from the film Eternal Sunshine Of the Spotless Mind: “I’ll get bored with you and feel trapped / Because that’s what happens to me.” Lost love is the storm that rains over all these songs and soaks the entire record.
Tovey makes the sadness work. The final track, “Circles,” perhaps hints at the future of Glume. It begins with a menacing Nitzer Ebb–type synth line over a hint of Angelo Badalamenti. The song sounds like you could drop it in the background of any episode of Season 3 of David Lynch’s nightmarish, twisted version of Twin Peaks. It’s that unsettling calm and uncertainty that comes before someone lets the devil in. Redefined Displeasures is a small treasure of a record that deserves repeated listenings. In the future, I hope that Tovey does in fact let the devil in and shake up the mysterious lovesick themes that he does so well. I believe the devil may be Tovey himself—these songs beg and cry out to hear more of his voice. –Russ Holsten