[sic] Magazine

Glasvegas – ‘Glasvegas’

Reviewer: Gary Stanton

The anticipation is over. The debut album from Glasvegas has finally landed on the doormat. With a sell-out tour behind them, expectations are high. This is a band hotter than Pakistan’s Marriott Hotel. And how many hotels, even five-star ones, offer you an authentic open fire in every room?

The name: an ironic marriage of a blizzard-prone shithole (I’m not quoting from the Rough Guide to Glasgow) where life expectancy is on a par with sub-Saharan Africa and a sweltering metropolis where fat men get rich in casinos then use the toilets of those casinos to have a coronary.

It’s in the stereo. Instantly, I’m forced to turn down the sound on the latest episode of Dog Borstal as something interesting is coming out of the speakers. Trembling guitars introduce ‘Flowers and Football Tops’ – guitars which hiss and fizz like a Mars Bar thrown into a deep-fat fryer. A drumbeat kicks in with all the force of the Duracell bunny. Remember – Duracell outlast other leading batteries by up to twenty percent or more, it’s the copper-coloured top that makes all the difference. Sexier looking than other batteries, they are equally at home in flashlight, alarm clock-radio or plastic, vibrating penis substitute. It’s an impressive opener, the theme – the loss of a loved one. A knock on the door from the police. A parent mourning a son. The police unimpressed that she only has instant coffee to offer, after all – delivering bad news is thirsty work. Ok, I’m just trying to lighten the mood.

’It’s my own cheating heart that makes me cry’ mixes the self-loathing lyrics of Arab Strap with the sexual boasting of Snoop Dogg. Catching my cock in my flies is what makes me cry. That and the poetry of Craig Charles. We’re just coming at it from different angles.

’Lonesome Swan’s delicious meandering guitar refreshes the palate like the food of Gordon Ramsay washed down with a can of Irn Bru. It’s fair to say I have never eaten at a Ramsay restaurant The nearest I ever got to Claridges was pressing my nose up against the frosted panes like some Dickensian orphan before having someone in a Ted Baker suit mouth the words “Will you fuck off or I’ll call security ?” It was a rhetorical question. At least I’ve seen how the other half live.

If you want to see how the OTHER half live, the half who shun fine dining to eat at KFC or McDonalds, then buy this record. Whether you’re battered, bruised, buggered, bereaved or just plain bored, there’s something for you here. Allan has an eye firmly fixed on the sorrows of modern life and yet has created a record as magnificent as it is uplifting. This is a debut album packed with unwholesome goodness. Songs as bold as the lives they depict. Tunes, so big, they’re morbidly obese. Tunes that blush when asked about their Body Mass Index. Tunes so fat with a “ph” that they hop on a mobility scooter for a trip to the “all you can eat for a fiver” buffet. They’re distinctly large. But there’s subtlety here too. That comes as the album draws to a close. I won’t spoil the surprise.

Singer James Allan’s vocals are reminiscent of the pained wailing of U2’s Mr. Vox, a fellow shades-wearer. And never one to miss out on the Specsavers two-for-one offer, Allan is fond of sporting them on-stage. This, though, is Bono with a pair of balls. That’s not to say Bono lacks them, or at least I sincerely hope nothing untoward has happened to them. You wouldn’t wish that on a man who’s done as much for charity as Bono has, even phoning up the US President on a mobile phone. Whatever tariff you’re on, that’s gonna hurt. I’m on Pay As You Go. I dread to think. Why he had to ruin the moment by subsequently placing an order with a pizza delivery company we’ll never know#.

So there we have it. Amidst the ubiquitous guitar dross of the last few years – at last there is a band worth missing Dog Borstal for. I’d go further. What about Ross Kemp on Gangs? Yes, even that. It’s all here – a sonic slice of an Irvine Welsh novel. It’s like the Bay City Rollers never happened. But they did happen and it’s going to take more than one Glasvegas album to settle the debt with history.



Speculation, although Specsavers operate no fewer than eight branches in Glasgow.