Brian Glaze – Green Living

Brian Glaze - Green Living

Brian Glaze - Green Living

This album was recorded in someone’s basement. And there’s no way they can try to hide that. Swaths of fuzzy guitar and clattering drum racket bounce off the walls and weird crunches and jangles abound, rattling like pockets full of loose change. But regardless of its lo-fi nature, Brian Glaze’s Green Living is a creative, imaginative effort which certainly does show signs of improvement from his 2006 debut album Let’s Go to the Sea.

However, it is impossible to try to ignore the fact that it sounds like it was recorded underwater. Which is very distracting. See, this is the problem with lo-fi production. While it may have been initially exciting when pioneered by slacker-geniuses Pavement and Guided by Voices, the novelty has now worn off. You can no longer record an album in gritty, grubby format and try to suppose that “the highly personal nature of home demo recordings are tough to improve upon.” I’m sorry World Famous Records, but nobody is buying that. In today’s world of slick production, there are few people who can pull off releasing bootlegs and basement recordings. The sole reason they can is because they are so famous and legendary that there is actually a demand for that sort of product. When you have an extensive fan base, there are die-hards willing to slap down some money just to hear more, even if “more” takes on the form of a long-lost, raspy 4-track tape full of hiccupping and burping and random guitar tomfoolery.

Sidestepping any production faults, Green Living is quite an interesting little mosaic of sound. Glaze has stated that this album is a sort of “best-of” collection, and that each track has been meticulously selected from his stash of home-recorded creations. This sounds accurate, as each song brings unique qualities to the overall eclectic and psychedelic hodgepodge of sound. The album opens up with the ever-so-catchy “Leader of the Band,” a cheerful swirl of 80’s high school prom synthesizers and surfer-rock crooning. Other included genres range from the bluesy riffs of “Bad News” to the slow, electronic-tinged ballad “Silver Ashes.”

While his creativity shows no end in sight, Glaze’s vocal prowess falls short of greatness, which is made even more obvious due to Green Living‘s lack of production polish. He also seems unfocused at times, and while his end goal for this record is a kaleidoscopic, eclectic collection, his efforts end up sounding borderline spastic.

Despite his lack of focus, it is a shame to see such rampant creativity squandered by the poor, lo-fi basement equipment used on this recording. Glaze is an artist worth watching, and if he can ever rein in his wild ideas and get his hands on the right tools, the results could prove to be interesting indeed.

However obvious they may be, keep in mind that despite its faults, this album is far from a failure. Although there is nothing extraordinary here, Brian Glaze’s Green Living showcases interesting fusions of genres both new and old and is a quaint and varied compilation of delicious weirdness.

World Famous In SF