Glass Kids - Unblinded
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Record Label: Self Released
I should preface this review with a forewarning: I am not a pop connoisseur. It takes a lot for me to really listen and even more for me to enjoy it. There has to be something particularly outstanding for my interest to be peaked.
Glass Kids had my interest.
Whether Amy Meeko's incredibly luscious vocals or Spencer Bastian's entrancing instrumentals are at the fore, the debut EP, titled Unblinded, is captivating and offers a captivating dark element to the Top 40 pop formula, and the end result speaks volumes. Case in point: "Nirvana" delivers an alternative rock overtone, in the vein of Metric, as Meeko switches from major to minor keys in the verses, fluctuating to establish a monumental build up that is its addictive chorus, laced with heavy repetition that ensures repeated listens. "Predator" opens in a much different tone, with ominous tones that slowly rise and fall in a haunting manner. These synth lines are continually backed up by chunky guitar tones that are reminiscent of growls and high pitched vocal glitches that sound like small cries for help, developing the atmosphere of the appropriately titled track.
"Light It Up" is where Glass Kids truly shine, though. Completely focused and cohesive, Meeko's vocals are presented in the most accessible way possible, tonally similar to younger Christina Aguilera with Amy Lee's dynamics and accents, as the strongest chorus on the album plays out. Think earlier Innerpartysystem with female vocals, meshed with traces of Phantogram, all presented in pop perfection, dressed up and ready to explode on the air waves. The EP switches gears with its title track to a slow sweeping ambience behind acoustic guitar. This dream pop quality is a welcomed change of pace as Meeko channels Chino Moreno in the construction of melody, with the end result a plausible addition to Crosses (†††)'s EP 2. Unfortunately, the track sort of meanders as opposed to building up the way the rest of the EP does but it's nothing to overlook the track for. This resolves itself a bit on "Walk In My Shoes," another acoustic. Unlike "Unblinded," the track transitions from a ballad, by the subtle introduction of jumping synth lines and programmed orchestration, to a dark house blend, closing the album on a creative high that will resonate even after its end.
When I heard Glass Kids's first single, my interest was held. The components for heartfelt, enjoyable pop was there but I needed more. Unblinded gives the rest of the testament: Yes, Glass Kids are more than competent at their craft. There's everything ready and necessary to create unique hits, and it's fascinating that the qualities to do so lie equally in both performances, for one would not sound complete without the other, but together, there is an amalgamation of proven successful pop features and the experimentation of mystical flairs and uncommon style. Sure some tweaks here and there would benefit the music (perhaps resolution of some structural discrepancies and a bit more diversity), but it's important to remember that this is a debut release, and a brief release at that. If Unblinded serves as a stepping stone to the potential of the pop duo, then count me in. Glass Kids, you have my attention.