Boston, Massachusetts act The Glass Set admit to being brought up on a steady diet of UK post punk acts and this much is clear on a darkly impressive mini album EP which takes on shoegaze and gothic genres along the way. This description alone might make you think you’ve heard all this before but there’s a noticeable maturity and complexity to their songs which ensures their music lurks in the memory.
For the first song ‘Luckiest Girl’, Joel Cohen’s murky guitars and Allen Esser’s thick, pounding percussion are interwoven deliciously with Leah Callahan’s sweet innocent vocals and Cohen’s own haunting murmur. It’s an unusual yet intoxicating beginning; echoing the shadowy work of early Breathless as much as any female-fronted shoegaze act you could care to mention. Callahan becomes a more dominant presence on ‘Elephant And Castle’. Here the arrangement is stripped back for much of the song; where the band are content to build a ringing, chiming foundation on which the singer can deliver a dominant yet classy performance and when the song enters its inevitable loud phase it is done so in a superbly controlled way.
The title track seems slightly wayward at first with male/female vocals colliding and fading into each other above warped guitars but credit to the band for experimenting with production and this clever, complex track grows in stature after repeated plays. A more commercially-friendly ‘Ooh La La’ proves that The Glass Set can “do” pop if the mood takes them and here the melodies flow from every key change. The final two tracks are plunged back into ethereal darkness; with ‘Keep It To Yourself’, especially, bringing gothic influences into the mix.
The Glass Set may have been hailed as “Joy Division fronted by a female Morrissey” by their local press but there’s a ring of truth to the hyperbole since ‘First Image’ is laced with well-judged Mancunian influences and their frontwoman has the charisma to ensure they rise to the top of similarly-styled bands.