Life meets lifelessness on Glitter Veils’ debut LP, ‘Figures In Sight’
Brisbane artists LUKE ZAHNLEITER and MICHAEL WHITNEY are GLITTER VEILS. They’ve recently taken the concept of the humble bedroom studio and created a brand new set of rules for sound.
Crunchy vocals, warped guitar, saxophone cameo and life-shattering chord changes are Glitter Veils’ weapon of choice through out the first half of this 9-song LP entitled Figures In Sight. The back half however, is filled with sounds much easier to digest. Beautiful sweeping progressions are a loving contrast to the gut-wrenching rumble of the previously mentioned warped guitar slacker rock.
The dryness of the recording’s paints a baron wasteland, much like how I imagine the music on the moon would sound; a very lost-in-space feel with crisp vocals akin to ground control transmissions and sound bites that are literally from another planet. From the very beginning, the crispy vocals slice through this baron wasteland, as ‘Gibberish Talks’ offers a sound reminiscent of a JACK RIVER song, but again as if it was played through a radio in zero gravity.
It’s not until the 3rd track, ‘Caprice,’ do the guys bring this LP back towards earth. The slacker rock enriched with jazz voices is joined by saxophone serenades. An epic contrast from its predecessor, but oddly not out of place at all, it’s all tied together with melodic pop bass lines and warped electric guitar parts.
We continue our journey through the emptiness of space being whisked away into little pockets of life in a similar fashion to alternative rockers ALT-J and what they did with their most recent album, This Is All Yours. Except, instead of the bright sounds of nature, Glitter Veils use a darker contrast. They manage to empty whole tracks and refill it with gritty guitar and alien chord changes.
The production on the track ‘Gossamer Folds’ is a highlight from the first half of these gritty tracks, but they press the reset button and sweep into the back-end in the most surprising fashion. ‘Soft Touch’ is my favourite track of the LP. A marching guitar riff is met with the essence of life that was missing from the first half of songs. Michael Hutchence style melancholy bumps in over a haunting production, similar to how a bad acid trip is portrayed in cinema. This whole album feels like a bad trip gone good.
The alt-j style space documentary finally lands on earth in ‘In the Vein’. The slow build into the chorus is recognisable but not overpowering. It’s the perfect way to re-acclimatise with earth. With the trip finally looking up, the contrasting brightness hits harder then ever. From the baron lifeless intensity of the first half of the LP you’re transported to the edge of a coral reef where life begins in abundance.
Out of the water floats ‘A Brief Moment’. The dreamiest track of the LP, this must have been recorded late at night because the sharp tones and shock value is traded in for the most gentle of musical choices. Unwelcome noises are stoically fought off, Whitney and Zahnleiter are the gatekeepers of your ears and they will only allow the purest of sounds in. Similar to the peaceful quiet that only exists underwater.
This half of the LP is far more sonically generous than the first, but the contrast is necessary to understanding the body of work as a whole. In its full glory, Figures In Sight paints both sides to existence; life and lifelessness. It has it’s debut LP moments where it can get a little lost, but the way it rectifies itself, it definitely seems like they were on purpose or a natural occurrence that Glitter Veils’ sound just couldn’t go without.
Overall, for this exploration to come out of a small bedroom just shows how much the Brisbane duo are capable of. Not to mention the fact that it’s been released off Flexible Records, an offshoot of the iconic label, Terrible Records. You may not catch it right away, but the serenity this album holds comes a-plenty in the closing moments of the LP, so to listen to this album in parts would be a disservice.
Words by STEVE COPP