[Columbia Records] **
To many American ears, the Scottish band Glasvegas might sound like U2 as fronted by the dad played by Mike Myers in So I Married an Axe Murderer.
But singer James Allan's overwhelming brogue is a formidable instrument that livens up some otherwise boilerplate epic rock on the band's new self-titled album.
From the cheeky band name to the monsoons of Creation Records production effects, everything about Glasvegas screams "subject to heavy popularity tariffs if exported out of the U.K."
But the earnestness of the band's vision occasionally hits a Darklands-era Jesus and Mary Chain sweet spot. The hook of "Geraldine" is a sweet-hearted falsetto catcall, and "Daddy's Gone" and "S.A.D. Light" could have been Marvelettes singles if the Wall of Sound was instead an Acre of Delay Pedals.
Too often, though, the album slogs through droning nonstarters such as "Go Square Go" and "Polmont on My Mind," and that's even excepting "Stabbed," a ridiculous spoken-word soliloquy that jacks Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata so flagrantly it'd make J.R. Rotem blush.
It's a bull market for fetishizing exotica in rock music today, but though Glasvegas certainly sounds like Scotland, it feels more like its eponymous Sin City: sprawling and glittery but ultimately artificial.