As we all know, the past couple of years have been hard. Musicians were particularly hit, with gigs and album recordings postponed or canceled. Yet one pleasant trend I have noticed as people slowly crept out of isolation is the formation of new bands. It’s as if many of us realized there is no time but the present, and remembered how much music can do for us.
Gluehead started as a solo project, helmed by guitarist Liam Daly. After reconnecting with Kris Woodcock, a former classmate, the two began jamming together, and another band began. Bassist Luis Aznarez on bass and drummer Alex Hadjiloukas were recruited through want ads (yes they still work, as I myself can attest!) By summer of 2021, the quartet was already playing their first shows, and on March 25th, 2022, their debut album Get Stuck was released. According to the band’s press release, the album is a “friendly reminder that loud amps still save lives.”
Get Stuck is a fairly traditional shoegaze and post-rock album, which is to say that Gluehead have studied the masters well and learned what works. Although they’ve been together for only a little over a year, it’s impressive how dialed in the four members are together. The guitars swirl around each other, moving through dynamic changes, and the rhythm section underpins it all with grace. (In particular, I’m a big fan of the cymbals.).
The dreamy instrumental portions of these songs were my favorite parts of the record; some of the longer tracks are best treated as an immersive experience rather than background music, and I would recommend headphones. Get Stuck is definitely for listeners who want to lie back and let the music flow.
There is a certain abandon in the vocals in contrast to the preciseness of the music. In true shoegaze fashion the vocals can sometimes be subsumed into the music, but that allows the solid fuzzy riffs to stand out. But it’s not all spacey fuzz; more fast paced tracks like “Sunshine” bring out the energetic side of the band. There are also harder moments (“Dwight”) among the quiet songs, such as “Mindfield” (which honestly puts me in mind of Bends-era Radiohead.)
Gluehead wear their love of the 90s on their sleeve, and any fan of Slowdive, Ride or Swervedriver will recognize and enjoy these influences; fans of more recent shoegaze-inspired bands like Cloakroom will also want to give it a listen. Get Stuck is out now on Bandcamp, and you can follow them at Instagram for all the latest news and upcoming shows.