Listening to the remarkable new Glories album feels like an emotionally enriching journey to the kind of sunny but somberly peaceful meadow suggested by the cover art, which centers on that kind of starkly colorful environment. On Distant After, the Birmingham, Alabama-based post-rock band have crafted powerful and confidence-infused melody driven explorations of emotional release. At points like the opening of their track “Make the Hills Echo,” Glories’ performances get loud and intense, but there’s never a sense of either loss of control or chaos. Rather, the group sounds like they’ve given a deserved, regal-feeling grandiosity to the feeling of a drive for personal emotional release that seems to underpin this record.
Mostly, their instrumentation feels rather straightforward. The band’s latest album hinges on ultimately very solid-feeling guitar and drum rhythms that are often quite catchily intertwined. Their tones themselves feel very solid too. There’s a nice fullness to their sound that really amplifies that subtly (but surely) majestic feel delivered by the soaring melodies of the song structures themselves. And they’ve got plenty of standout moments, like the intense but lusciously beautiful (and emotionally stirring) conclusion of the entire album packed into their gradually intensifying song called “Easy Dreamless Sleep.” They don’t spend a whole lot of time meandering through any kind of fully immersive atmosphere, but when they do dive that direction, their ambiance mixes perfectly. For example, the subtly but substantively bright, plucked tones that open the album really powerfully set the scene.
Overall, Glories alternate very effectively and poignantly between musical and emotional grandiosity. In other words, they’ve got a unique take on building melody into a just about unbreakable, powerful loop, but they’ve embedded this element in dynamically wide performances that feel attuned to personal outpouring.
These explorations of somber, shimmering, dark metaphorical internal pools feel like they uncover deposits of melancholy, but Glories keep the journey going from those overcast places embodied by the album’s delicate edges into more powerful, brightly lit areas brought to life by the meaty rhythm at the core of this piece. These latest songs from Glories are catchy in the sense of providing a substantively intricate area to explore that may have been underappreciated in a dark cloud-dominated locale. There’s a bit more brightness to be found, and it’s right here.
Check some out below. The band have dedicated this album to Zach Cooner, who helped found the band and passed away in 2017.