Solidly melodic and letter-personal, the Glass Family in some ways recall Wilco, The Shins and Spoon.
But that doesn't mean you now know what they sound like.
In addition to the experimentation that informs all four bands' music, the five-piece
Austin, Texas shows a certain pop sensibility that translates the essentially
individual personal choices, emotional issues, a particular place into
something immediately accessible.
The band's full-length debut, Sleep Inside This Wheel, is conceptual,
but only to the extent that if you aren't ruminating about life at a certain
age, you're singing about how the modern world does not suffer the more sensitive
of us, nor our need to be understood. It is already one of my favorite records.
I feel like I've slept in it. I know all of the words. Sleep Inside This Wheel is
filmic consider the ambient people milling, cursive strings and piano
that begin the record, literally, as "Introduction" and responsively traveled.
David S. Blanco's album art gives the music a perfect visual translation. The noted designer's still city with marked watercolor airports, people and division streets is as sentient as the kozyndan illustrations for the Postal Service's singles. It led me to the Glass Family before I even heard the music.
The song "Swimming in Fiction" tries to ground a friend in the memory of writing a letter (instead of voices who won't tell the truth). The Rhodes piano, which sounds so good throughout the record, paces its near-rock clip to a telling appeal: "Crawl if you care/ Crawl if you care/ We will take you/ How you are." Michael Winningham's voice sounds familiar, nothing studied, just comfortable, worn. Here though, it exerts this tamped-down urgency, so the violins and cello can sound pretty, or push forward, and that spire of prog-rock guitar or, maybe, Sigur Rós, is as thrilling as it is darkly conceived.
The Glass Family sound of the moment; they also sound like what indie rock used to sound like, leaving the impressions the bands once left. I have been hearing so many good, new bands recently Sleep Inside This Wheel certainly adds to the momentum.