Tuesday, January 29, 2008
SO SO GLOS ep REVIEW
The So So Glos ep Review
Those vested in categorizing everything as cool, or already over, will not like anything for more than its perceived short shelf life. That attitude causes the swift music fans to miss the gold nugget in the silt. Their perception that something is ‘cool’ overlooks the fact that it’s good. Their loss.
Some bands get labeled as the momentary cool thing, which is dangerous when they’re good. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen to New York City’s The So So Glos. They are good, they are cool and say something as they play music that puts the New York Dolls, The Clash and the sparseness of The Strokes in a cab careening down a dark alley collision.
Mixing up a sometimes overlooked genre of rock and roll and brash swagger, The So So Glos have recorded one of the best collection of songs (four to be exact) to come along in a while. You can feel and smell the city on their EP, dripping with attitude, fun and angst. The tracks are thick with rhythm and gut deep sentimentality, criss-crossing bombast with gentility.
Beginning with a singular siren guitar riff on ‘Black & Blue’ singer Alex Levine belts out The cops put a black boy in back of the car/The pretty people watch it as they strut into the bar. He sings as if being dragged away by thugs, his delivery soulful, like a staggered rally cry. The guitar is playful and pointed, moving along and then going quiet, making a point, supplanted even further by the drumming and a howling chorus of have you got it all figured out? It is fucking blissful, hoarse and brazenly Joe Strummer to boot.
‘Seventeen’ opens with harmonica, hand claps and ‘Used to Love Her’ descending guitar strumming, Seventeen and closet queen/Flashing purple on the screen…You’d rather bite the bullet than to take a chance/You’d rather be a mouse than be a man…It’s a biography with a Beggar’s Banquet feel, a wall of sound that hits hard.
There’s the New York Dolls driving strut of ‘Broken Mirror Baby’ as the band namedrops themselves. ‘Low’ is a rave-up, sounding thirty years old and new at the same time. Four songs and the band have produced something more meaningful than some say with a whole record. It has power, wildness, and a vibe and elicits the promise of something more.
The band contentedly echoes The Clash, The J. Geils Band or the swagger of T.Rex. Thank god this style of playing lives on; fun and dangerous just the same. They’re telling stories with a superb soundtrack. It may seem like they don’t give a shit, the playing is energetic and seemingly effortless. But the band does give a shit, wanting to put teeth back in music, demanding that an audience listen, dance and participate.
This is the type of band that would get airplay on SNL back in the day, a band with something to say, a little reckless. Now all you get is Avril Lavigne. Take this to heart from lead singer Alex Levine:
“I live amongst the apathetic generation. We think that we're something special, when in fact we are all beautifully mediocre. Incredibly so-so. We stand for nothing, care about nothing, talk a lot, and do nothing. Apocalyptic beings waiting for the end, and exploiting what’s left while we are still here. Making sure we look good as the world crumbles in devastation. I am as dim as the lights from the city, a fucking SO SO GLO. Just like you. Change Something.”
- Brian Tucker