By: Anand Harsh
When deciding how to follow Drink the Sea, The Glitch Mob was faced with a binary decision. Either continue where the trio of Josh Mayer, Ed Ma, and Justin Boreta left off; in essence, make Drink the Sea Part 2, an addendum. B-sides that could just as easily be tacked on to previous work? Or instead, look to the future of the sound that they helped create—this West Coast bass movement—a wholly American phenomenon. With the release of their three-track EP We Can Make the World Stop, fans and critics just get a taste. A taste of what the band is considering; a glimpse of new directions. Supposing the L.A.-based trio wants to break new ground. How do you create an entirely new sound in the midst of rabid touring and an escalating stage show that demands an ungodly amount of time and concentration?
In a recent interview with The Untz, Justin Boreta revealed that the group had scrapped their old writing process, throwing out the old method of trading seats at the master control station between the three members, for a more modular course that more closely modeled the production and performance technology of the day. “We each wrote a song—or more appropriately, a sketch—each day for ten days. Some were based on a melodic concept or rhythmic exercise, and then using our new system, we were able to pick and choose sections to assemble the songs.”
With the opening title track, the trio sets preconceptions straight regarding the status quo. Bringing their tempo up to a cruising (for them) 106BPM, and giving listeners the closest kick they’ll get to a four-on-the-floor dance beat, the overall energy level is heightened. On top of the elevated dance groove, organic instruments come raining down—a piano (almost saloon-style pianny, a little crushed and out-of-tune, almost rattly), nylon or steel plucked strings on a Spanish guitar, and strings. Tons of strings, almost like a chamber orchestra. The Mob is moving in a singular direction. Poise and purpose point to an out-of-reach-just-yet goal that more touring, bigger gigs, and more studio work like this keeps inching the band toward.
In this world of bedroom producers, and dimly lit nightclubs with ten DJs taking the stage each night, the scene lacks a central focus, a dominant figure. The 80’s saw Queen play Wembley Stadium. U2 has moved mountains with its political ambition and massive sound—at least until recently. But they’re the only band that doesn’t have a Boss, a Beatle, or a diminutive aging sex idol prancing around in buttless chaps that can play the Super Bowl Halftime Show. But electronic music, especially in the States, is looking for that major player in the field that speaks to everybody, not just a small subset of niche cynics. The Glitch Mob believes in anthems. Big, powerful pieces of music—not just sound, but composition. Difficult to do without verses that talk about the heartland and how the man is keeping us all down, but every genre needs an anthem. And no, I don't mean an LMFAO-style anthem. No, thank you.
“We Can Make the World Stop” has that Glitch Mob sound. It does indeed have warped samples and fuzzed-out sweeps, but the sound is also elegant in its simplicity. The hooks are easily to ingest, and wrap around themselves so tightly, they are inescapable. The trio takes a page from the book of Daft Punk, an act they remixed with much success for the Tron:Legacy soundtrack. A vocoded echo of the track’s title reflects the anthemic nature of “Around the World,” or “Digital Love.”
The repeated string section and synth chorus of “Warrior Concerto,” act as an homage to the only North American who can lay and sort of claim to producing electronic music’s answer to the anthem: Canada’s deadmau5. The Stomp-style drum fills, brash bursts of trash can lid slams, hammer home the grandiosity of these tracks, in tandem with the beat-dropping glitches and signature Glitch Mob moves. These tracks belong in the background of blockbusters. Any Michael Bay, explosion-filled Transformers battle, or Ridley Scott war epic would benefit from a WCMtWS piece.
The final track, “Palace of the Innocents,” is the standout track—more accurately, the stand apart track. Unlike its companion tracks, “Innocents,” is an exercise in patience. No symphonic sections, no in your face hooks. The intro is extends well into the track, with Eastern subtext, before that classic Glitch Mob drum line makes its entrance, along with the faraway, broken-down, organ-grinder melody. Almost a response to the bass blasts of their West Coast colleagues, the darkness and depth of the final track is stunning in its ferocity, not just as a stand alone cut, but as a part of the entire Mob catalog. Don’t be thrown off—the darkness is gripping.
The thing that needs to be remembered about these new tracks: they are meant to be performed live. Again, Boreta from his interview with The Untz, “We were very conscious of that when we were in the studio—what we could do with them in the live setting.” Whether its in amphitheater, festival stage, or club—all of which The Glitch Mob is hitting on their current summer tour—that immense, bold sound will follow the trio. Whether or not the band knows it, and regardless of whether their fans, or fans of the scene in general are aware of it, the age of the anthem is upon us.
Purchase link: http://www.theglitchmob.com
The Untz Podcast Links w/ The Glitch Mob:
The Glitch Mob - Warrior Concerto
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