After alternative legends Title Fight went on hiatus co-founder Ned Russin founded Glitterer. Two EP’s followed along with an album, now seeming relics from a pre-Covid world. Exploring the current zeitgeist and the tectonic shifts in popular culture Life Is Not A Lesson is an album that captures the current angst and anxiety and serves them up in twelve wonderful tracks.
Opening song “Bodies” immediately reveals Life Is Not A Lesson to be a hard hitting, punchy affair. With plenty of distortion on the guitar a nice thick, treacly sound is produced: a glorious ball of fuzz inside which sits a deliciously divine melody. There’s a definite 90’s alternative rock vibe going on within these grooves that positions Glitterer somewhere between Sonic Youth and The Pixies. Ned Russin has recently moved from Pennsylvania to Washington D.C. and he brought with him the emo soaked sounds of his former state and welded them to the capitals famous hardcore swing and the result is pleasantly hard to pigeonhole. There’s the post-punk bass rumble on “The End” that’s tempered with some darkwave keys alongside decidedly grungy vocals and the result is a Frankenstein’s monster; it shouldn’t really exist but now it does it’s making itself right at home.
Life Is Not A Lesson is an album that benefits from its own brevity. With only four of the twelve tracks (briefly) breaking the two minute mark it doesn’t hang around and, subsequently, demands your full attention. There’s a dreamy, drone-like quality to this record (imagine Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys on heavy downers) that sucks you into Glitterer’s world which means if your focus is elsewhere these tunes will simply pass you by and with tunes this good you won’t want to miss a note. ‘Bangers’ is the word that springs to mind as these songs eagerly tumble from my speakers, each tripping over the former in a race to bury themselves deep within my cranium.
The decision to bury some antiquated synths deep in the mix has worked out really well and it’s the kind of light touch that other artists would neglect. After co-producing Glitterer’s debut album (2019’s Looking Through The Shades) Ned Russin has taken full creative control of this sophomore effort and it does blossom under his singular vision. On a long player that’s lyrically life affirming there’s a slightly kooky sound and from this dichotomy juxtapositions echo throughout: the antiquated and modern, the sober and surreal, introspection and extroversion. Exploring the minutiae of our current age the title track is a sombre closer which, in the middle of a global pandemic, leaves a dazzling array of questions in its wake.
To quote the final refrain: “Life is not a lesson to be learned.”
Life Is Not A Lesson is released by Anti- on 26th February 2021