[Modern Outsider, 2013]
Hollie Daugherty, February 14, 2013
Listen: “Weight Of Love”
Some albums offer perfect audio accompaniment for an aimless solo night drive under a moonlight sky; the latest from Gliss is no exception. Released in late January on the Austin-based indie Modern Outsider label, Langsom Dans (Danish for “slow dance”), is the Danish/American trio’s third full album. It is a lushly textured, atmospheric mix of dark art-pop that caresses the ears with tranquil melodies during its 55-minute odyssey. With song titles such as “Into the Water”, “Waves”, and “The Sea Tonight”, it’s easy to wonder if a midnight drive along the winding Pacific Coast Highway served as inspiration.
Gliss, comprised of Martin Klingman (vocals, guitar, bass, drums) and David Reiss (guitar, bass) along with Denmark native Victoria Cecilia (vocals, bass, synths), bears sonic similarities to early Depeche Mode and the Cure as well as Arcade Fire, Beach House, and Zola Jesus. But Gliss is not easily labeled; their sound is shoegaze/dream-pop filled with wistful lyrics of pensive soul-searching on this release yet darker and edgier (think Interpol and The Editors on an espresso and nicotine diet) on their previous albums. After nearly a decade together, Gliss stands poised to garner a broader spectrum of accolades than being known as one of Billy Corgan’s favorite bands. The fact that he picked them to tour with the Smashing Pumpkins in 2007 may have increased the Gliss fanbase abroad, but this album will likely be the introduction for most new stateside fans.
The opening track (“Blood on My Hands”) unveils the profession “I’ve got blood on my hands / though I’ve done nothing wrong / I’m no better than you” to a slow, pulsing drum beat. So begins the dance. Martin and Victoria share a pas de deux of exchanged lead vocal duties, she proclaiming “My heart is still aching” on the synth-laden “A to B”, while he echoes “I lost my head / I’m on my way / there’s no escaping” on the next, “Into the Water.”
The early tracks set the tone of lovers’ losses and regrets, each a languorous segue into its descendent. On “The Weight of Love”, Victoria states, “All I wanted was my friend / all alone I was strong.” Mid-album momentum builds with “Hunting” before exploding with the more straightforward pop-sounding “The Sea Tonight” which finds Victoria channeling both Debbie Harry and Régine Chassagne.
When the album ends with the eight-minute track “Kite in the Sky”, it feels like a late-night journey to no particular destination has concluded at daybreak. “It’s not how it was” – the final refrain – is an apt description of the band’s continued evolution. Langsom Dans is more mellow than their previous works but a pleasing journey all the same.