LISTEN TO GLASS BEACH
January 24, 2020
glass beach’s debut album
the first glass beach album
is the first album from glass beach.
At times it’s reminiscent of the bombastic indie-pop of Of Montreal; at others, the experimental angst of Bomb The Music Industry! or My Chemical Romance. Mathy guitar leads, catchy drum grooves, melodic basslines, and the constant interplay of horns, synths, and even the intermittent theremin set the perfect scene for vocalist and bandleader “Classic” J McClendon’s (they/them) stunning vocal performance, which can shift from a charming falsetto to unhinged screaming to robotic autotune to the lead of a sing-a-long in an instant
Simply put, albums this ambitious just don’t come around that often.
Genreless and just as disjointed as it is cohesive, the first glass beach album was initially self-released by the band in the spring of 2019, but its roots actually date back to as early as 2015 when J started demoing tracks for the album after they first moved to Los Angeles from their hometown of Burleson, Texas. White, along with bassist Jonas Newhouse (they/them), heard J’s solo project, casio dad, on their college radio station at the University of Minnesota Morris in 2016. They both liked it so much they literally moved to Los Angeles to live with and start a band with J (who had spent the last year living on a friend’s couch).
The trio spent the next three years refining J’s demos into an album, a seemingly never-ending process of recording and re-recording, and experimenting with as many possible versions of each idea they could come up with. Later, after the album was finished, Layne Smith (he/him) joined on lead guitar, playing parts originally performed by J to help flesh out the band’s live sound, and quickly becoming a key piece to the band's cohesion.
Solidarity while persevering through hard times is an important recurring theme on the first glass beach album, as is finding love and comfort in a world you feel alienated from. It's emotional catharsis in an album, simply put, so it’s no surprise that while this groundbreaking record was coming to life, the members of glass beach were each reconsidering and rediscovering their own –– coming out for the first time or in a newly realized way during the time this album was produced and released.
It’s been said that every time a bell rings, an angel gets their wings… well, every time someone hears the first glass beach album, life is completely transformed. Their ability to band together as artists and humans in such a unique way, abandoning both genre and cultural limitations, has already inspired an ever-growing number of fans all over the world.
And to think… they’ve only just begun.