Material Control by Glassjaw (2017)

L: 9/10

M: 7/10

Analysis from an unplugged microphone, finally sending out the truth:

“I’m searching for a familiar face, in my surroundings,” Daryl Palumbo croons this out from the musical fog that builds to a never cresting frenzy. These are the first and far from last lines from Material Control that get burnt onto the back of my skull, and are recited without thought from my mouth in the last weeks while digesting this album. I am a huge Glassjaw fan, having seen them in recent years and notching them off of my “Bucket List” of bands to see before my unavoidable young demise. This album (at least for me) came out of nowhere, it’s release coming to my attention a mere days before. I now seek out its presence in any top ten albums of 2017 year list before taking them seriously.

The opening three tracks of Material Control blend into a great opening sequence. Several times within this beginning array, the bass and drum combination drops down relentless and repetitiously effective attacks. Darryl Palumbo is free to cut through through the static and use his infective melodies to smooth together some classic Glassjaw moments. These first four songs really blur into one stage of the album, setting the remainder’s pace.

Strange Hours is the first example of repetitious instrumentals that will be used multiple times on the album. They break into a cigar lounge anthem, in which I picture Mr. Palumbo rolling around on top of a piano while he delivers the line, “Tell me it’s easy, Godless one sighing inside me.” This is the first of several moments for me, taking me back to the earlier days of Glassjaw, within the Listen and Worship era, where all genres were blurred into the sonic abruptness that Glassjaw would dance within the lines of.

This leads into two minute plus instrumental of Bastille Day, that furthermore leads into more classic Glassjaw. The speed drops down several times before launching to the incredibly catchy chorus of Pompeii, with Darryl reaching the highest levels of the fever pitch he is known to live within.

The titular track is strangely only instrumental, leading directly into the closer, Cut and Run. This finale doesn’t feel like a true closing note and abruptly ends before I’m ready to say goodbye to the first new music since 2011. If the album is placed on repeat, the beginning plays with little notice of the final track’s conclusion. I hate to be picky in any way with Glassjaw, this is a very important band in my life. They tend to lay dormant for years and then pop up and remind me how much I enjoy their uncategorizable music brand. I mean, if you go all the way back to their first album, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Silence, the drummer of Godsmack lends studio credits.

I could go further into each song of Material Control, but I’ve already gone over my self-allocated word count. I feel as if you like Glassjaw, or if you like any of the genres in which they spill into, you’ll love this album. They aren’t going to win over any new listeners with a record that sounds like this in 2017. What Spotify playlist would this even break into? I’ll just continue to play this on repeat and force as many people as I can to listen as well.

Analysis from generic hotel art:

Well, I can tell you going into this that my review will not only lack the length of L’s but most certainly the dynamic passion. I’ve said it before that I am no music buff. I am a lyric whore, and therefore if the words speak to me, then the genre really means little. When in any particular dynamic mood, I can always look to L as my personal DJ, and he will provide me with a song that perfectly articulates my mental state both in sound and verbiage.

I first plugged up my earbuds and blasted this album while on a plane to Seattle. My typical way of listening to a new album is to read the lyrics along with the song so that I’m sure to soak it all up and not miss a thing. Due to in and out internet access in my flight, I wasn’t entirely possible, so I was forced to sit back, close my eyes, drink my second Jack and Coke of the evening, and just absorb the music’s vibe.

My first reaction to the music is that it was so angry. L’s response to how we weren’t aware he was reviewing with his mom spurred on a more in-depth look into the meanings behind the aggressive vibes. It seems to me that even the softest notes were filled with bitterness and angst, and perhaps I’m accepting this as fact when it is all wrong, but that doesn’t make it unenjoyable. I’m at a rather painful point in my life, and listening to music that seems like a roar of emotions is fitting and greatly appreciated. What they do, they certainly do well.

As more of a podcast listener, I can’t say with any confidence that this album will ever be on repeat in my life again, but it will certainly be played here and there when I need to tap into something deeper within me. I will cry and grunt a lot and exhale loudly when I realize I’ve been holding my breath waiting for a break in the intensity. Unlike my first listen, I will be alone so that the man next to me doesn’t keep trying to see what the fuck is happening under the cracked screen of my iPhone. In all a great pick which is par for the course for my counterpart.



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