ALBUM REVIEW: The Glorious Sons – ‘Glory’

Artwork for The Glorious Sons’ ‘Glory’

Listening to The Glorious Sons in 2023 feels like discovering an act from about a decade ago that was somehow cast aside by the stranglehold that indie music has on popular culture. It’s even more true when directly comparing it to any of today’s rock landscapes where, unless you’re named Dave Grohl, big, earnest, uncomplicated rock music just isn’t resonating the same way. At least The Glorious Sons have often displayed something more worthwhile for their efforts, be that a folk- or heartland-rock slant, or just the capability for a barnstormer hook when it suits them. Their song Spirit To Break from 2019 was never even a single, but it exemplified the exact right things to do in this sort of rock.

If you’re putting them directly next to the majority of the 2010s’ indie lineup, The Glorious Sons handily leapfrog over them. And that’s a shame that’s not been recognised, especially when they are still good. They’ve had a bit of charting presence in their native Canada, but so has every single other Canadian act; it’s basically the law over there (look it up). Even on Glory, the point still largely stands. Perhaps in the wider rock landscape, The Glorious Sons aren’t challenging for the top table, but a solid, mainstream-friendly outing like this can still shine in its own way.

Of course, that requires narrowing the parameters a bit and determining exactly where this is trying to land. On Glory, that doesn’t prove too difficult—although it spans a gamut of indie cues, from ramshackle stompers to a dashing, starry-eyed grandeur, The Glorious Sons are chasing a mostly organic, down-to-earth brand of indie. It touches on a bunch of those who came prior, though the key elements have more in common with a folksier, more rustic end of things. Maybe not quite to the extremes of The Lumineers or Mumford And Sons (thank God…), but Glory’s own path has some comparable pit stops. They’re pretty good too, with a lot of rustic twang thanks to Mercy Mercy’s stray edges, and what’s actually a great slow burn in the alt-country swoon of House Lights.

As for the rest, The Glorious Sons aren’t ones to be too confined. You can tell from how unencumbered the album is in its production, but mostly through a disregard for stylistic cohesion in favour of snapping pieces up from all over the indie umbrella’s reach. Granted, the two regularly go hand in hand, particularly in the title track that’s definitely on par with the 2010s crowd in colourless space filled with millennial whoops. It’s done much better later on with Cosmic Beam, an instance in which The Glorious Sons show off their propensity for something bigger a lot more successfully. It’s the same with Cellular and You Stay Young, a pair of tracks that dash alongside broad, romanticised lyrical brushstrokes, but in a way that refrains from anything too dull or drab. For the latter, it’s actually quite the opposite, with a lot of floaty strings and cinematic flutters that show off a really sharp ear for subtlety. A lot of acts of this ilk will rarely put the effort into that avenue that The Glorious Sons do, and it’s an extra bit of care that works well in their favour.

Perhaps it’s nothing too special, but in the House of Indie where overextension can betray some acts’ limitations in a galling way, The Glorious Sons manage to stick the landing a bit more deftly. It leads to a fun, fulfilling listen overall, more about the feel and the widest possible conveyances in a purely complementary way. The effect on general longevity might be a different matter—The Glorious Sons have often been kinda hit-or-miss in that field—but honestly, there’s enough here that could work in the longer term. Glory is definitely accessible enough for it, and the variety of styles paired with an above-average record for hooks nails down a pretty decent outcome here.

For fans of: Arkells, Mumford And Sons, The Lumineers

‘Glory’ by The Glorious Sons is released on 6th September on TGS Music.

Words by Luke Nuttall

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