Glitch – City Kicks / Ocean Fix

The first time I saw Worcester five-piece Glitch perform, it was a short mid-afternoon set during an all-day festival, yet the band brought a huge amount of energy to the early slot, displaying engaging stage presence and a skilful blend of alt-rock, funk and even disco rhythms, along with a knack for a strong vocal melody.

On their debut full-length LP, City Kicks / Ocean Fix, the band bring these chops and influences to the studio in a way that effectively captures the spirit of their live performances, and builds on the direct sound established on their 2018 EP Headspace. Opener “3am in Soho” evokes the desired strange late night/early morning feeling with moody blues-psych, and then single “Brothel Creepers” kicks things up a gear. Boasting the band’s trademark tight rhythmic grooves from drummer Alex Gwinn and bassist Stu Smith, an insistent wonky bass hook reminiscent of Nirvana’s “Love Buzz”, chiming post-punk guitar lines from Ben Burford and Dan Smith, and Claire Hemingway’s Siouxsie-and-the-Banshees-esque vocals, this track demonstrates a clash of influences blended together seamlessly and played and recorded confidently. 

“Towns End” takes a left-turn – after melodic guitar arpeggios and fat bass, spoken-word verses describe social alienation and inequality, while the choruses revert to a repeated hook that ties everything together. Album highlight “So True” brings a spoken-word interlude to an infectious disco-punk groove with choppy guitar licks, only this time it is a sample taken from a 1960s audio log describing the effects of testing LSD on British troops!

The title track sets the band’s expected fluid bass grooves to a slow, haunting rhythm that builds slowly to a screaming crescendo. The lyrical angst is at the forefront here, with the declaration “this city kicks you when you’re down”. If this is true, Glitch have certainly found a way to turn the frustration into something cathartic and capturing. Closing track “Perspective” also morphs gradually towards a crescendo (filled with ghostly wails), after layered guitars and driving bass grooves (the production and arrangement on this album is top quality).

The slower, less heavy cuts on the album are just as effective, with the largely-acoustic “Reverie” marking a welcome change of pace with its bittersweet melodies and hopeful refrain of “the world’s not broken”. “67 Sunsets” is a golden slice of mellow, melodic psych-pop that sounds like it came right from the titular year!

City Kicks / Ocean Fix is a strong debut from a band who know how to blend their disparate influences into a sound that is both new and familiar – and back it up with some stellar songwriting and musical chops! I’m looking forward to hearing from Glitch again – both live and on record.

By: Dan Knight

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