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The Glasspack | Bridgeburner | review | rock | Lollipop
Bridgeburner (Small Stone)
by Brian Varney
There was a time a few years back, around the time of the band's debut EP, when you could call The Glasspack a punk band and be reasonably assured that you were making an accurate statement. Three full-lengths and - one gets the feeling - several tons of illicit substances later, there's no way such a term could be used unless the word "gutter" is intractably affixed to the front. This shit is knee-deep in bell bottoms, psychedelic drugs, and distortion pedals, which is probably why they've been embraced by the stoner rock folks. It's also why I've been rattling the windows with this CD ever since it turned up in the mailbox.
I suppose the MC5 is the most apt comparison I can make, but even that doesn't entirely satisfy. If you can imagine the 5 with their minds worn to a nub by paint fume inhalation and minus the ridiculous free jazz shit, that's as close to the Pack as I'm gonna be able to get ya.
Bridgeburner picks up where the band's previous Small Stone release, Powderkeg, left off (before it wandered off into a field and passed out, that is): The chaotic blur of the band's attack doing its best to keep its desperate clutch on the songs while threatening at any moment to skid off the road into a ditch. The recording is a bit tighter and more cohesive this time around, which can be both good and bad, especially for a band that so obviously thrives on chaos. Nobody's EVER gonna mistake this for a polished recording, but there are fewer flying elbows and broken teeth this time around. Maybe it's the work of the engineer, or maybe it's just the sound of a tighter band. In any case, the ferocity has not relinquished one bit, the tumult of the band and the wholly distorted vocals - which sound as if they're being sung through a ball of fuzz on the end of a phonograph needle - threatening at points to actually induce motion sickness. The overall effect of listening to Bridgeburner is like walking into a sped-up film of a drunk driver smashing a speeding car into a brick wall, bits of glass and smoldering metal splattered with blood and gore flying past you even though everything is moving so fast you can't tell what's what.