The Coloring Book – Glassjaw

Glassjaw is a frustrating entity. They released 2 absolute classics in 2000’s “Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence” and it’s follow up 2002’s “Worship and Tribute” and proceeded to fall off the face of the Earth for the better part of 9 years. They toured occasionally and even took time to insult their fans (in hilarious fashion I might add) through various media outlets. Those rare shows they played would even sometimes show off new songs that had no studio counterpart and all of us in our goofy G-J combo logo shirts would begin rubbing our balls in anticipation of the “new album”. Never came. Justin Beck (lead guitarist) was busy raking in cash through his website Merchdirect which specialized in band swag and front man Daryl Palumbo was all tied up applying mascara and singing dance anthems with his other band, Head Automatica. Where would dorky fan boys with bad Glassjaw related tattoos go to find our release that had efficiently replaced sex? God only knew. Only God. The Lord. He knew.

Basically, Glassjaw had found a pretty remarkable formula. They barely ever played and as a result, those little shows sold out quickly and as a result of THAT, those little shows had to become bigger shows. New merchandise came out every few months and occasionally they’d throw up a small sample of a bass loop that may or may not be a part of a new song. Over that 9 year period, we did get a small 3 song EP that was a collection of B-Sides from the Worship and Tribute sessions, but that was it. They teased and teased and occasionally posted that Glassjaw was dead. This would drive away most fans of any other band. Joke was on them though! Glassjaw fans are REALLY fucking desperate and as much shit was talked on various forums on how the band had become a clothing line more than a creative entity, no one ever quite gave up.

They did the playing live thing and kept mixing in new completed songs. Before long it seemed like they had an Eps worth of material and stinky former straight edge kids were begging for an EP of stuff they had already heard live. Wasn’t good enough though. Even when “You Think You’re John Fucking Lennon” got a nice clean sounding mp3 release, it only slowed the hideous hordes down for a few days before the “EP SOON! I KNOW IT! EP SOON!” chatter began. Cocks were teased, keyboards were hit and assholes were disappointed. Nothing.

Then a lot of other shit happened. And suddenly, they released a free EP at their 1-11-11 show and people were happy. What assholes. Let’s review this damn thing.

1. Black Nurse: Driving guitars and Daryl yipping like a disgruntled chihuahahahahahahahahaha. hahaha. Almost a strange reggae-dub vibe to the verses, but the chorus gives us back our wall of guitars. The drum n bass fellas are getting some really nice sections in, with the drums being possibly the songs highlights. Beck’s guitars are pretty gnarly to be fair. Gnarly? Too late, already typed it, has to stay in. The ending, featuring the repeating of the chorus with greater aggression each time reminds me of why I miss things like Glassjaw. ****. Been better songs, but that was a nice blunt opener.

2. Gold: More up front, strong guitar work from Beck. Daryl apparently decided this song was going to be his showcase, as he shows off the added range he’s gotten since the last time we heard from him in this capacity. Chorus is magnificent and forces me to think of it as “hypnotic” even though I’m not sure if that’s accurate in anyway. Hey, some Chino heavy breathing! So far this stuff actually does have a White Pony vibe except ya know, with Glassjaw. The mid song bridge gives us some of the album’s finest moments and my Goodness, that is all we needed boys. That is all we needed. *****

3.Vanilla Poltergeist Snake: Something about that title makes me hungry and yet afraid of digestion problems I will have later in life. Oh yeah, pretty chaotic opening quickly gives to some oh so quiet and yet vibrant vocals. Chino nods in approval. And then probably throws up all over himself, but that’s neither here nore there. “I find it so peculiar, how you sit in stare” is barely audible, but it works to great effect. Chorus is is more of a normal volume vocally, supported by some keyboard and guitar plucking. The bass is really standing out here or that’s just a keyboard effect I have confused for the bass. I am terrible at this. “No one gets out alive. No one.” Well despite all of the apparent death, I enjoyed this. Certainly one of the Jaw’s stranger songs. ****1/2

4. Miracle In Inches: There is some joke about Chikodemono’s genitals buried in the title of this one, but I know you expect better of me. More of that dub influence coming in and some really nice irritable guitar work leads us into the ridiculously fun to sing along with chorus. Song is actually a bit of a bummer. Nice chill section right in the middle of all the pseudo misery and Beck smashes in a beloved pet’s face with his guitar work out of nowhere. Great atmosphere to this one, as the bridge instantly makes me want to do a lot of coke and become paranoid of everything I have ever loved. So I like it. ****

5. Stations of The New Cross: Big nasty wart infested opening and the chill returns once the verses begin to fully form. Beck keeps stepping in with some menace, but the song mostly revolves around Palumbo’s wonderfully relaxed voice and a small sound salad going on behind it. Beck begins to ever so gently bring it, with some of his finest guitar work to date underneath Palumbo’s overdubbed singing and somehow, the song ends up giving me vertigo. I like having vertigo. ****

6. Daytona White: Creepy synth and drum work that reminds me of an old John Carpenter soundtrack. Mid tempo start and we slip suddenly into the chorus and it’s just a wonderful achievement of modern invention or other relavent statements that sound like me enjoying this song. Chorus is beautiful and Palumbo’s vocals are just so so ridiculously good on the “When YOU’RE half awaaaake…” section of things. Did I already use the word “atmospheric” to describe a song? Well let’s apply it here too and you pretend like it’s a new interesting way of commenting on things. Mid song breakdown features a lot of shit happening, something that surely must be played over my execution later in the day. He can’t breathe without you. Judging from the rest of the lyrics, I do believe he means liquor in this context, so let’s give it up for Daryl. ***** The album’s high point.

Favorite Lyric: I believe in regret for when the morning appears again.

Final Thoughts: Thank God they’re back. Sonically, this is their most experimental stuff to date, and while fanboys won’t find the kicking and screaming they’re used to in a Glassjaw record, this will find a wonderful if somewhat lonely journey through…the album…of…recorded…The EP is good is what I’m saying, it’s really good. ****, only 6 songs so I dock them and I am sure it totally matters.