Austin, Texas' The Glass Family has undergone some pretty
severe changes in the past couple of years. The band has done a rapid
evolution from its early stages of Elvis Costello-esque spry
pop music, through a forest of mid-era Pink Floydian grandiose
rock, to arrive at its current state of euphoric indie power pop.
The band has taken in a lot of influences over this evolution, working
them into their sound, and emerging with an album of songs that sound
uniquely like nothing but The Glass Family.
Vocalist/guitarist Michael Winningham has a vision of where
the music is going, and has taken steps to get it there by fleshing
out the Glass Family lineup with the fairly recent additions of Brian
Hubbard and Jeremy Gomez, both (formerly?) the guitarist
and bassist, respectively, of Austin wonderband The Gloria Record.
Tony Daugherty on drums and Frank Alexander on keyboards
complete the current band line-up. Sleep Inside This Wheel
contains real strings and horns - fairly unheard of for a small indie
band - which were ably arranged by Alexander, revealing a man of many
The songs on Sleep Inside This Wheel are densely populated
numbers, varied instrumentation creating thick walls of sonic splendor
to accompany the intricately woven lyrics. The alternately hopping
and slurring rhythms of "Stop Dead In Your Tracks" nicely
augment the chiming guitars and deep bass lines. Winningham's voice
is stronger than on previous outings, showing a maturity and grace
that was only hinted at before. "Honest Tries" is a very
modern groove, but the backing is almost lullaby style, with lovely
strings and a chiming toy piano. It makes for a wonderful listen outside
of all the dynamic starts and stops and intensity shifts. But where
The Glass Family really hit their stride is on "Swimming In Fiction".
Piano carries the melody along a jumpy drumbeat that immediately sets
the foot to tapping, before the vocals come sliding in like a sly
street dealer, catching you somewhat unaware, but reeling you in quickly.
This song will make a believer out of the most skeptical of rock fans.
The Glass Family have come a long way, and I've a feeling they'll
be continuing to grow and change their sound as they continue to
incorporate more influences and make them their own. With a bit
of effort, one can trace the ideology of the sounds and their genesis,
but it is all swept together into a great maelstrom of beautiful
sonic splendor on these great songs. I can't wait to hear what the
band has in store for the future.
2. Stop Dead In Your Tracks
3. Honest Tries
4. Bad News
5. Swimming In Fiction
7. Sleep Inside This Wheel
8. This Is Impossible
9. Stolen Art
10. There's A Light Waiting For You
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