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The Glass Family
Sleep Inside This Wheel
I Eat Records
www.theglassfamily.org


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 talents.

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.

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:
1. intro
2. Stop Dead In Your Tracks
3. Honest Tries
4. Bad News
5. Swimming In Fiction
6. reprise
7. Sleep Inside This Wheel
8. This Is Impossible
9. Stolen Art
10. There's A Light Waiting For You


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Mike Doughty



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