it’s because of their geographic location – about 30 minutes south of Nashville
in Murfreesboro, Tennessee – but Glossary all too often gets lumped in with the
Americana or alt-country crowd. While Glossary has been known to let slip a
little twang now and then on the edges of their guitar-driven rock ‘n’ roll
songs, the reality is that for going on 14 years (and counting), Glossary has
quietly earned a reputation as one of America’s best, albeit obscure rock
end, Glossary defies critical or commercial expectations and instead plays like
a square peg jammed into a round hole. With the band’s seventh independent
album, Long Live All Of Us, Glossary
delivers a strong rock ‘n’ soul collection that leans more pronouncedly towards
Memphis and Stax Records than it does to Nashville and Music Row.
Lead singer and songwriter Joey Kneiser has long been one of the most
underrated scribes in indie rock, and he outdoes himself with a stellar
collection of songs on Long Live All Of
Us. The album opens with the laid-back “Trouble Won’t Last
Always,” a rollicking 1970s-era mid-tempo Southern rocker akin to Delaney
& Bonnie, but with a few interesting instrumental flourishes that fall out
of the ether into the spry arrangement.
trembling guitar lick and Memphis soul rhythms intro “A Shoulder To Cry
On,” a delightful romp that showcases Kneiser’s weathered vocals and
guitarist Todd Beene’s nimble licks. Kneiser’s voice captures the kind of
forlorn emotion and pleading sincerity that a bigger-name but lesser-talent
like Justin Timberlake can only hope to achieve, Kneiser’s vocals a cross
between Wilson Pickett and Roy Orbison, with Beene playing the role of Steve
Cropper (or maybe James Burton). The hauntingly beautiful “Nothing Can
Keep Me Away” is a slow-paced folk-country gem with Kneiser’s
high-lonesome vocals accompanied by Beene’s tortured fretwork and blasts of
mournful horns courtesy of saxophonist Jim Spake and trumpeter Nahshon Benford.
of Long Live All Of Us is “When
We Were Wicked,” an unbridled rocker with chaotic rhythms from bassist
Bingham Barnes and drummer Eric Giles, a wicked riff via Beene, and Kneiser’s Springsteenesque
vocals, doubled by wife Kelly’s loftier tones, wrapped around one of the best
“Born To Run” styled set of lyrics this side of the Hold Steady or
the Gaslight Anthem. The equally up-tempo “Heart Full Of Wanna”
features a fat Barnes bass line, Giles’ heartbeat percussion, and Beene’s wiry
guitar dancing behind Kneiser’s joyful vocals. The tuff-as-nails “Keep It
Coming” is Sam & Dave on steroids, a mid-tempo blue-eyed soul
heartbreaker with serpentine rhythms, Beene’s imaginative guitarplay, and Kneiser’s
swaggering vocals, which swing from a Tom Petty-styled drawl to a mournful Otis
Redding plea within a single verse.
Long Live All Of Us was financed, at least
in part, by the band’s Kickstarter campaign, and it looks as if they’ve used
the money wisely. The production is lofty and nuanced, without busting the
budget, the CD’s eco-friendly digipak displaying Glossary’s usual graphic arts
savvy. Given that they’ve done seven increasingly-impressive albums on a
shoestring indie-rock budget, I’d love to see what they might do with a little
more cash in hand and a sympathetic producer like Jon Tiven or John Porter.
Then again, maybe this is all they need – a rock-solid set of songs, a little
guitar, bass ‘n’ drums, and enough studio time to get it down on wax. You can’t
argue with the results, Glossary one of the best rock bands you’ve yet to love!
DOWNLOAD: “Trouble Won’t Last Always,”
“When We Were Wicked,” “Keep It Coming” REV. KEITH A.