Published on November 30th, 2011 | by Lisa McInerney0
Album Review: Glimmerers, from The Dying Seconds.
We’re vocal fans of The Dying Seconds here on Culch, and that we were looking forward to the release of second album Glimmerers with the enthusiasm of a Svalbardian electrician greeting the summer will be news to absolutely no one with functioning ears. Against Ireland’s culture of healthy trad, conventional rock and pedestrian pop, The Dying Seconds’ orchestral electronica comes rather close to aural relief. They’re a band we should be very proud to call our own.
Glimmerers was guaranteed to mark a progression from the sound of the gang’s eponymous debut. In hindsight, it seems obvious that the debut (featuring core Seconds Jack and David) was but preparation for a much bigger project; at the time, it seemed assured and accomplished in its own right. There’s no denying that Glimmerers is infinitely better, which is a pretty exciting thought in terms of any band’s promise and potential. Glimmerers is a fantastic example of the “difficult second album” stumbling block successfully navigated, and manipulated.
Opener Lavender pits that dreamy warmth the Seconds are branding their own against David’s unique, occasionally wraithlike vocals, setting the tone with a layered, intricate build-up which shortly becomes apparent is something the band has a steady knack for. The album’s running order thoughtfully plotted, by the time single Kid Logic comes up, there’s a feeling of knowing where we’re going. This is no bad thing; this is how albums should be. And yet the relentlessness of the second half of Glimmerers goes above and beyond the listener’s rational expectations. Both Scars and Ceramic are ambitious, gorgeous and affecting. And the first gentle, acoustic notes of album closer All In The Dark are deceptive. Glimmerers closes with a very satisfying marriage of singalong and introspection. It’s reminiscent of that big/soft sound you get from The National (which explains why Aaron Dessner likes the band so much), OK Computer-era Radiohead, UNKLE at their most indulgently shoegazey.
It’s pleasurably difficult to pinpoint what it is about Glimmerers that works so well. To say that it’s full of exquisite mood-music makes it sound like something that should be played in elevators in five star hotels, which misses the mark wildly. Glimmerers is a fantastic album; occasionally creepy, occasionally morose, opulent, moving, and matchless, and a late but strong contender for my Irish Album of the Year.
The Dying Seconds: Mora Minn
The self-released Glimmerers is available now from The Dying Seconds’ website, here. Ooh, that’s pretty cover art.