GLOO - 'A PATHETIC YOUTH' Album Review


Tracklist:

1. Holiday

2. No Shit Sally

3. Force You

4. Hit It

5. Let Me Have Some

6. Pig

7. Say Yes

8. Act My Age

9. Dripping Wet

10. Pissheads

Those of you of a certain vintage may remember the mid-90s comedy series The Fast Show, and specifically the character Swiss Toni; a sleazy used car salesman who likened pretty much everything to having sex. How we laughed at the middle aged perv, who could place almost any experience in the context of carnal knowledge. Anyway, I digress, that was very long ago and although I don’t often say it out loud, I am (just about.. almost..) middle aged.

The thing about music, dear reader, is that it’s a lot like making love to a beautiful woman. Sometimes, the anticipation is what it’s all about; each kiss or caress heightening our senses, a slow crescendo, building to a crashing climax. Sometimes, it’s a two-minute knee trembler behind the bus stop. And that’s where GLOO’s debut album, 'A PATHETIC YOUTH' comes in. There’s no gentle crescendo here, no tender caress, it’s 1666 seconds of pure unadulterated filth from start to finish. GLOO are billed as Punk, but in truth there’s more to them than that, they’re a cocktail of Punk, Grunge, old school Rock, Alt-Rock, stirred up with twisted solos which never stray towards the fret onanism of some lead guitarists.

The opening track 'Holiday' sets the band’s stall out; perhaps a nod to their hometown of Littlehampton (don’t worry, I hadn’t really either- apparently, it’s a faded seaside resort located between Brighton and Bognor Regis) this is a rage against the mundane, a need to escape the day to day, screamed into the void. It sounds pretty bleak, but you know what, it really isn’t. This is an album of anthems, sweat soaked, beer drenched, shouty anthems, and it’s fucking glorious. Don’t get me wrong, there’s substance and a message in the lyrics, GLOO rail against authority in the excellent 'Force You' and the Orwell inspired 'Pig', but 'A PATHETIC YOUTH' didn’t leave me wanting to fill up my Molotovs and storm Downing Street, it made me want to shout along with them about things that piss me off but ultimately, I know I’m not going to change because I can’t be bothered.

If I had to have a low point on the record, it’s the album’s denouement, 'Pissheads'. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy drinking beer with my mates, on my own, or even with people that I don’t really like, but I’ve never really been a fan of songs about it. We’re all adults (apart from those of us who aren’t), we can all have a drink if we want, it just seems a bit of an, I dunno, uninspiring subject for a song. Having said which, I can imagine it’s a decent set closer, at the end of a night drinking lots, and spilling more, fizzy lager from plastic pint pots. Also, there is more than a faint hint of the start of Dusty Springfield’s 'I Only Want To Be With You' in the opening melody of 'Hit It', but to be honest I found this quite endearing- who doesn’t secretly like Dusty after all?

The above points notwithstanding, this is a great record, and even if the band don’t seem to take themselves too seriously, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t. 'A PATHETIC YOUTH' is an accomplished record, which has won plaudits from all over the shop, and rightly so. If you’re after a slow burner, a smouldering love affair, then shop elsewhere. If you want kiss me quick, this might well be your thing.

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Review - Jon Stokes

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