As far as post hardcore goes, Glassjaw are certainly up there as being one of the biggest and most influential. Especially impressive when you consider the band has up to now only ever released 2 full albums up to now, bringing along the phrase ‘quality not quantity’ as your Mother would say. Whilst we all wait for a third album and salivate over the goodies delivered in ‘The Colouring Book EP,’ we decided to throw two people together to discuss which of the two albums was their favourite before Glassjaw drop all of our jaws at Hevy Fest.
One of Already Heard’s writers, Rosie Kerr, and special guest writer Ben Sullivan of Vales, go head to head to tell you which album they think is best and why.
Rosie believes Glassjaw’s sophomore album ‘Worship And Tribute’ is where it’s at whilst Ben will be writing in honour of the band’s first album ‘Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence’.
Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence (Ben Sullivan)
“Released barely two years after the band’s stunning debut, Glassjaw’s sophomore release proved to be one of the most singular and influential post-hardcore releases of our time. An experimental yet bafflingly infectious offering that the likes of which has yet to be seen again.”
The above quote is from this month’s Rock Sound. It’s talking about Glassjaw’s second full length ‘Worship & Tribute.’ 18 years after formation Glassjaw are still proving that they’re one of the most influential bands that have ever existed under our little umbrella I shall label ‘alternative’. The band’s name is on the lips of most of my friends this summer due to their obvious festival appearances and I physically can’t wait to finally see them live.
However, despite the opening quote, in this versus album fight I’m not backing ‘Worship & Tribute,’ no, I’m gunning for the first of Glassjaw’s full length ‘Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence.’ Why start with a quote opposing my ‘argument?’ Well, I don’t dispute what Rock Sound have said. ‘Worship & Tribute’ is to many people the better album. The more complete album. The most influential. But I don’t think that means it’s better. It’s not my choice. I’m sure record sales and online scrobbles will also back their statement but let me explain to you why I think ‘EYEWTKAS’ is the better album. Why I think the above media attention is not undeserved but just a little off the mark. I’m not going to delve deep into opinion and debate, I’m not going to analyse the album track by track and relay to you its merits and flaws, but instead explain to you straight up why I believe ’EYEWTKAS’ is the better album.
Emotion. “Sure?” You say, “That’s the idea of this music right? Duh” Well, yeah. But think about this album. Listen to it. It’s disgusting. It’s raw and filthy and full of whelps and screams and it’s relentless. A full on assault that is unrestricted by fan or label expectation. I have yet to hear another album that is so unrestrained and brutally honest. In some places it’s beautiful. The chorus of the title track is probably my favourite pieces of music ever created. It’s also horrible in some places. Passages don’t work, they grate on you. I like that – and I think it works. This record actually feels like a love scorned. The catastrophe of emotion and ups and downs, it’s dripping with the salt from the tears. There are glimpses of hope and then rages of fury that are wholesomely unjaded and untainted from outside ears and pointed fingers. It’s a narcissistic introverted storm with the likes of emotion that wasn’t heard since the hardcore movement in the ’80s.
‘Worship & Tribute’ may be ‘musically’ a better record. It may make more sense and sound better production but I feel it lacks the rawness, the savagery. Palumbo convulses through the tracks with a similar style being orchestrated from the rest of the band, with a lack of structure that those of us who can understand should revel in. We can all relate to some of the topics that Glassjaw touch upon in ‘EYEWTKAS’ and although sometimes very abstract, lyrically we can pull much more from Palumbo that we can from countless other emotionally-charged alternative bands. No one else can scream such obscenities and nonsensical violence and make it sound so sincere and bare. ‘EYEWTKAS’ is a mind laid out onto a platform where all who want to can see, pick, read and understand. I could go on and on…detailing with hyperbolic metaphors to the extent the greatness of this album, but instead I want those of you reading this who might not know ‘EYEWTKAS’ as well as other Glassjaw works to listen to it and appreciate it for all its ugly glory.
It’s a masterpiece, and I guess if you’re calling ‘Worship & Tribute’ the most influential post-hardcore record of all time, ‘EYEWTKAS’ was the flame to the fuse, which in my books makes this the more important album.
“Pack your shit and leave, and take my memories of her with you.”
Worship And Tribute (Rosie Kerr)
When I was younger, ‘Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence’ was my jam. It was the most perfect album I could ever conceive. Then, I began to listen closely to ‘Worship & Tribute’ and my world was turned upside down. I’d spent my time focusing on an album that, fairly, does contain a lot of “hits” when really, I should’ve been spending my time listening to the album that creates the depth and beauty of what Glassjaw are really about.
Every single song on ‘Worship & Tribute’ is perfect. There really are no words for the talent this band contains. Being Glassjaw’s second album, I can understand the loyalty for the first. I get that, yes, but this record takes on a whole new level and shows you what kind of changes and progression the band are capable of. This record fuses jazz and psychedelic rock, as well as their notably fantastic hardcore tracks that do continue over from ‘EYEWTKAS.’
Progression is something I always seek out in follow up albums. I believe there is never any point remaining in the same musical mind frame and not exploring what you’re capable of. This album just proves that this band are capable of more, of anything. Tracks like ‘Stuck Pig’ and ‘Pink Roses’ still contain that passion and aggression from ‘EYEWTKAS,’ but tracks like ‘Two Tabs Of Mescaline’ and ‘Ape Dos Mil’ are so beautifully crafted that you cannot deny that this album is a complete selection of Glassjaw’s ability to write something wholly unique.
I could go on, but at the end of the day this is obviously down to complete personal preference. I just tend to think people should give ‘Worship And Tribute’ more of a chance instead of sticking to their guns on ‘EYEWTKAS.’ It might be the best decision you ever make. For real.
Guest writer Ben Sullivan plays guitar in Cornwell Hardcore band Vales.
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