Sidewave – Glass Giant
With 2 EPs already under their belt, LA-based post-rock/ space-rock outfit Sidewave present their debut album, Glass Giant. Sidewave is: Phil Golyshko (vocals, guitars), Bill Collins (guitars), Brandon Dickert (drums), Matt Russell (bass). I recently had a chance to take a long listen and study of the record and found some amazing things going on.
I love albums that start with a track indicative of the rest of the record that foreshadow things to come. “Grounded” makes that happen in excellent form with a slow, atmospheric droning guitar that slides around and sets the tone, before spoken lyrics creep in and get the ball rolling. If I have a criticism here, it’s that the track ends too soon. I want more, but there are 11 more tracks coming and I will get my fix before its done.
The next track picks up the tempo (but not too much) with “Lace.” Here, I love the changes and the slightly more upbeat feel.
“Supersonic” brings more good stuff. Their description of their sound as, “space-rock” is on display here. Listening to this feels like driving on a long highway through outer space, on to the moon for a quick stop before gliding on through the rest of the galaxy. The 4:17 length of this song flies by so quickly I am shocked when it ends.
“Sundrop” brings a more traditional alternative rock sound without getting too far away from the essence of what this album is about. The textures and layers of sound are still rich and striking, but there is more form and understanding to what is going on.
“Honest to God” gives the album its’ first taste of heaviness, but I’m not sure how well it works and the heavy parts may be out of place. On an album full of awesomeness, this might be the one song I’ll skip on the second listen-through.
“Pines” gets the album right back on the right track. Starting slowly once more with beautiful spoken lyrics the song is terrific. Golyshko is at his best here, tying the lyrics and music together in splendid fashion. This is exactly what I was hoping for a lot of in listening to this album.
“Moonshine” brings a bit more of a ‘groove’ than has been on display to this point, while also showcasing the composition skills of this band and putting together a tune that might be fit for mainstream radio play.
“Romance is Dead” is a shorter track that seems more like a transition song on this album than a stand-alone piece. It sounds good, but it’s incomplete, like a sentence fragment that needs to be tied to other parts to make sense.
“Hearts” is a longer track that takes the listener all over the place (namely through the vast outer space and back to Earth once again). With a soft opening that draws the ear in before building into a solid rock song, elite composition is once again on display here in (possibly) the best track on the album. Golyshko’s vocal tones here will remind some of Chino Moreno. As a big fan of instrumentation, this song is my favorite on the record.
“This Is Who You Are” might be the most symbolic song on this album, indicative of what Sidewave was trying to do. The lyrics are powerful, but understated. Once again, it’s the brilliant instrumentation that’s on display here. For those who love comparisons, Smashing Pumpkins’ Cherub Rock comes to mind, especially in terms of the outstanding use of distortion without overpowering the music.
“Illusion of Light” carries over the tone of the previous track and effectively sets things up for the album’s closer.
“Crystallized” caps the album in glorious fashion. Everything that makes this album great is on display here, bringing it all together in a strong closing statement. Lyrics, instrumentation, and composition are on display in rare form. The volume slowly lowers in the closing seconds, ending an hour of fantastic music.
As a huge fan of Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, I can say that Glass Giant is probably the closest thing to it I have ever heard. This is an album that I can just as easily get happily stoned to or have running in the background while I spend a day working at my desk. The ground covered here is nothing short of brilliant. As a fan of atmospheric/psychedelic music I absolutely love this album.
I give this album 4/5 stars and have it as one of my Top- 5 albums of 2015.
WORDKRAPHT Rating: 4 Stars
Album Name: Glass Giant
Release Date: October, 2015
Genre: Post-Rock, Space Rock, Psychedelic, Shoegaze
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Members: Phil Golyshko – Vocals/Guitar, William Collins – Guitar/Synth, Matthew Russel – Bass/Vocals, Brandon Dickert – Drums / Vocals