As a group, Glass Towers manage, in part, to reach the celebratory highs and melancholic lows becoming of a tribute to adolescence. Halcyon Days boasts numerous finely crafted songs, and the band’s ambition to explore themes closer to their hearts is certainly something not to be knocked. A promising long player.
Music aside, the cover of Halcyon Days is already one of my favourites of the year so far. On it, a young man treads water in the ocean with a lit cigarette in mouth, the image serving as a metaphor for the album’s theme, as according to lead singer Ben Hannam, it’s an “invitation back into the heady rush of teenage days” and represents young men “standing in the doorstep of adulthood”. The cigarette then can be seen as representing the flame of youth, which is about to be extinguished.
It’s a theme particularly present on the album’s last three tracks, ‘Griffin’, ‘The Best Of Friends’ and ‘Foreign Time’; the latter featuring a Flaming Lips-esque introduction and sweet simple piano that links the verse and chorus. “Too young, too late / To find what I’ve been looking for / In this gutter town,” sings Hannam, the clearest reference to this exploration of the adolescent to adult transition. Harking back to the days of teenage crushes with its jumpy, up-tempo roll, ‘Griffin’ shows a young man struggling to express emotions properly: “I’m sorry that I’m such a typical guy / I cannot speak / I have not tried”.
The rest of the album is classic indie rock; there are shades of Two Door Cinema Club throughout, mainly through the lead guitar on tracks like ‘Halcyon’, but Hannam has a distinctive voice which helps set his band apart. That voice shines on ‘Jumanji’ during its grandiose chorus, and it’s a shame the vocals aren’t in the fore of the album’s mix more often. That’s not to mock the musicianship of the band; far from it – the drumming is solid and inventive, the guitar meticulous.
BY GARRATH WESTMORE
Halcyon Days is out now through Hub/Inertia.