Album Of The Week

Album Of The Week: Glitterer Rationale


Standing in the back of the 85-cap Long Island music venue Amityville Music Hall in December, I was bewildered. No one was moving as Glitterer’s idiosyncratic clamor erupted from the stage as they opened for Fiddlehead, their early synth-pop earworms and newer indie-rock explosions threaded together into one continuous wave of sound. I was headbanging, invigorated by the rapid-fire stream of infectious tunes, and I couldn’t help but feel annoyed that no one else was relishing Glitterer’s performance. Everyone’s always complaining that Title Fight aren’t making music anymore, but how much different is Glitterer, really?

Starting off as Ned Russin’s solo project, Glitterer shared its first self-titled EP in 2017, containing ruminative, lo-fi songs, which Russin performed with only a laptop and a microphone — a kind of vulnerability that made the crowd, and even Russin, uncomfortable. The 2018 EP Not Glitterer was similar, packed with trippy, one-minute excursions based around simple refrains like “Thought a lot about the world/ Thought a lot about the world.” Over time, he figured out a way to blend his introspective, glimmering spurts of bedroom-pop with his rowdier rock tendencies. His 2019 debut album Looking Through The Shades was more reliant on guitars and a faster pace, and 2021’s Life Is Not A Lesson was another step up, with the opener “Bodies” exploding as a fuzzed-out anthem with a great singalong moment I screamed in the back of Amityville Music Hall: “You can put me in the ground/ But I’ll still be hanging around!” However, others have not reacted as enthusiastically as I have to the project; just recently, at a Dallas show, a man was shouting about Title Fight during Glitterer’s set.

But what more could you want? Rationale finds Glitterer amping it up yet again, this time with Nicole Dao on keyboard, Jonas Farah on drums, Connor Morin on guitar, and Russin still on vocals and bass. It feels like Russin’s leap back into playing in the kind of rock bands that incite mosh pits and stagedivers. “I Want To Be Invisible” is a gripping introduction; it has the texture of the beginning of a concert, the audience full of anticipation and adrenaline, ready to push each other at the first note. Twinkling synthesizers lead to Russin shouts, which are stronger and more confident than anything he’s done in Title Fight. Despite the increase in volume of the instruments, Russin still sings with a startling vulnerability: “Because I want to be invisible/ But I can’t stay that way forever.”

It’s followed by an equally noisy track called “The Same Ordinary,” which he explained is about “how a pursuit of purpose is at times monotonous and maybe inescapable even if we are critical of it.” There are only eight lines, but he makes sure they’re memorable and even a little funny: “Gave my life to the road/ Broke down with nowhere to go/ Gave my life to my phone/ Tracked me to make sure I was alone.”

On “Big Winner,” Russin’s yells approaches screaming range; “Plastic” is moored by an infectious, corrosive riff. Only three tracks surpass the two-minute mark. I want to call it indie rock, but it’s hard to categorize the sound, which reverberates with heavy guitars while also sparkling with effervescent synths. “Can’t Feel Anything” and “Just A Place” are the only moments when Rationale slows down. On “Can’t Feel Anything,” Russin sings, “Both of my hands fell asleep/ Now I can’t feel anything/ Everything’s just out of reach/ Can’t even touch a memory.” It’s a testament to his skill for turning the mundane into something deeper and evocative; “I feel I’ve been in an existential crossroads my entire life — not to be melodramatic,” he told us in 2019. Although there’s an edge of absurdity to it all, there’s also a charm to his genuine awe at everything, his curiosity naturally yielding creativity. It’s evident that Russin makes music for himself more so than anybody else. Glitterer is his way of navigating his turmoil, and we’re welcome to witness.

The finale, “Half Truth,” is volcanic, with Russin kicking the song off with the jarring confession: “I used to worry I did not exist.” Later in the song, he contemplates: “Nothing’s ever more than just pretend/ It doesn’t matter what is my intent.” Still, Glitterer cracks at the surface of the performance we’re always subconsciously partaking in. The band offers a glimpse into Russin’s mysterious psyche and his confusion at mere existence, a sort of discomfort that’s buried in us all. His songs approach something real and tangible, yet also invisible and vague; it may be impossible to hold the full truth in our hands, but it won’t stop us from trying. He tried with Title Fight, and now he’s trying with Glitterer.

It’s probably not far-off to assume the title Rationale is satirical, a sort of jab at himself for bothering to look for logic in a world founded on inexplicability. It is a funny task to assign yourself, but the results are the answers themselves — we exist to have fun if only for a little while, which is exactly what these songs accomplish.

Rationale is out 2/23 on ANTI-.

Other albums out this week:
• MGMT’s Loss Of Life
• Hurray For The Riff Raff’s The Past Is Still Alive
• Erika de Casier’s Still
• Real Estate’s Daniel
• Mary Timony’s Untame The Tiger
• The Body & Dis Fig’s Orchards Of A Futile Heaven
• Laetitia Sadier’s Rooting For Love
• Alkaline Trio’s Blood, Hair, And Eyeballs
• Little Kid’s A Million Easy Payments
• Job For A Cowboy’s Moon Healer
• Joe Wong’s Mere Survival
• Church Chords’ elvis, he was Schlager
• Elephant Stone’s Back Into The Dream
• Mick Mars’ The Other Side Of Mars
• Gina Volpe’s Delete The World
• Revival Season’s Golden Age Of Self Snitching
• Sleepytime Gorilla Museum’s Sleepytime Gorilla Museum Of The Last Human Being
• Erick The Architect’s I’ve Never Been Here Before
• Mama Zu’s Quilt Floor
• Whispering Sons’ The Great Calm
• Persher’s Sleep Well
• Colouring’s Love To You, Mate
• The Snuts’ Millenials
• Morgan Harper-Jones’ Up To The Glass
• Ace Frehley’s 10,000 Volts
• Corb Lund’s El Viejo
• Remo Drive’s Mercy
• Rod Stewart & Jools Holland’s Swing Fever
• Grackles’ Grackles
• Darkest Hour’s Perpetual | Terminal
• Psymon Spine’s Head Body Connector
• A Burial At Sea’s Close To Home
• Molly O’Leary’s Marigold
• Royal Tusk’s Altruistic
• The Ivy’s A Door Still Open
• Allie X’s Girl With No Face
• Amaranthe’s The Catalyst
• Jazmin Bean’s Traumatic Livelihood
• Nadine Shah’s Filthy Underneath
• Philip Sayce’s The Wolves Are Coming
• Daymé Arocena’s Al-Kemi
• The Children’s Hour’s Going Home
• Geotic’s The Anchorite
• Timelost’s Drained
• Whitelands’ Night​-​bound Eyes Are Blind To The Day
• Cuntroaches’ III
• Modern English’s 1 2 3 4
• Amigo The Devil’s Yours Until The War Is Over
• Can’s Live In Paris 1973
• Steve Gunn & David Moore’s Live In London
• Bombay Bicycle Club’s Fantasies EP
• Tim Atlas’ Matinee EP
• M.U.T.T.’s Dirty Deeds EP
• Cavetown’s little vice EP
• John Glacier’s Like A Ribbon EP
• The Heart Racers’ The Heart Racers EP
• Dinah’s Dinah!
• EARTHGANG’s Robophobia
• Wrecked Lightship’s Antiposition

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