ALBUM REVIEW: Glitterer – Life Is Not A Lesson

Release Date: February 26th 2021
Label: ANTI-
Website: www.glitterer.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/glitterererer
Twitter: www.twitter.com/glitterererer

Rating:

In the few short years that Ned Russin has been recording under the moniker of Glitterer, a self-professed form of musical therapy, it’s evolved immensely from what were initially minute-long ditties made up of hypnotic lead bass lines, 8-bit synths, and drum machines.

With Title Fight continuing their extended, all but confirmed hiatus, it’s no real surprise that a solo project would eventually arise from one of the band’s core voices. More so intriguing, however, is the maddening progression Russin has made from emo-karaoke-garage-pop to full scale, electronica-tinged grunge, executed with the same intrinsic brevity that has elevated the emotive, ponderous quality of his solo material thus far.

Replacing the sterile programmed percussion found on initial EPs with live drums, provided by brother and fellow Title Fight member Ben, was paramount to why 2019’s ‘Looking Through The Shades’ was such a creative leap forward, showcasing the potential that Glitterer genuinely possesses beyond the confines of Russin‘s home. Even the addition of select, chunky guitar patterns gave the cuts a more full band aesthetic.

All of these contributing factors have been naturally carried over to ‘Life Is Not A Lesson’, an album that may run at approximately the same length as its twenty-one minute predecessor, but covers far more emotional and sonic ground. Whether inadvertently or not, Glitterer finally breathes with its own singularity as a project, rather than Russin merely tampering with ideas on his lonesome.

The fuzzed-out angst of opener ‘Bodies’, immediately followed by the menacing bass line of lead single and uncertainty anthem ‘Are You Sure?’, hit with a punchy potency, setting the scene for an unpretentious, utterly relatable self-evaluation soundtracked by no frills, bite-size pieces of shimmery art-punk.

The semi-acoustic push towards self-betterment on ‘Try Harder Still’, as well as the ballsy grunge-pop of ‘Didn’t Want It’, both teem with a realisation and clarity that groups with twice the members and thrice the song lengths can often fail to achieve.

It’s the quiet moments in-between where vulnerability and minimalism become the project’s greatest asset. The woozy, repetitive looping synths of ‘How A Song Should Go’ explore a direct reflection on dissatisfaction with one’s own creative process, while the cautious, gently unsettling mantra of the closing title-track highlights just how adept Russin has become at capturing intrigue and human emotion with little more than some synthesiser settings and his voice.

Whether utilising a full-band set-up, or a simple, saccharine electronic melody, Glitterer has a unique power to captivate and enthral, delivering self-deprecating morsels of life advice, directed inwards in a desire to improve outwards.