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Glamweazel: The Great Unknown

I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t approach The Great Unknown without some trepidation; a wacky band name combined to a foursome on the cover wearing suits that are half hazmat, half Tellytubby… Please don’t tell me we’re headed down the wormhole of quirkiness?

And yet, we’re not really, but first impressions and all that eh?

OK, let’s rewind. The questionably named Glamweazel formed from the ashes of One The Juggler - singing, guitaristing, keyboardering Jerry T Jones and the man of ‘wild guitar’ (their words, not necessarily mine), Colin Minchin, giving each other a ‘this is too good to end’ glance as they closed the 25th anniversary gig for their old band. With a stockpile of unheard songs ready to be dusted down, Glamweazel was brought into life as 2009 headed towards 2010, and between then and now the band have recorded four independently released albums. Teaming up with Angel Air for The Great Unknown, the opportunity was seized to get the Gl’eazels’ music out to a wider audience, this shiny, dayglo covered album being a selection of tracks from those four previous excursions.

Although based round the core duo of Jones and Minchin, the band are ably rounded out by bassist Paul Byfield and drummer Dave Lowe, although with this being a retrospective of sorts, previous Weazelers Laurence Whiteley, Al Costin, Joe Slythe and Ronnie Paris all make honourable appearances. Eighteen tracks are featured as we wilfully head back to days of old, the Glam aspect of this outfit’s name no accident. Although were not talking so much the ‘...Bam Thank You Ma’am’ variant, instead as “Tangled Leads”, “Playtime Is Over” or “My Baby Don’t Fade Away” weave their spell, so we are taken on a journey through 60s pop and 70s rock. The mood is often light and airy and yet these are no throwaway offerings bashed out with more enthusiasm than class. Here lyrical observations are matched to music that glimpses into worlds of everyday melancholy - growing old (un)gracefully, the love of the music and the paths we all must travel. As the best pop music often does, “Illusions And Butterflies” marries a cheerful melody to a pained lyric; joy and despair running hand in hand as you sing along. And it’s this all too often lost skill that raises what in other confines could have been a reasonably perfunctory set of songs and ensures that you stay the course.

Although the arrangements are neat and sharp and everything is undoubtedly crafted and cared for, I’d personally suggest that The Great Unknown isn’t likely to blow your socks off and yet as you let “The Art Of Meltdown” dissolve in front of you, or you tune in to “Big Beat Radio” so you can’t help but become embroiled in Glamweazel’s stories. Nodding to Bolan and undoubtedly thanking Bowie for inspiration, this outfit have the knack of sounding like they might just have shared a bill with their heroes. That’s not to suggest that they’d ever have quite reached headline status in that company but they’d certainly have held their own against the era’s countless should’a beens.

Track Listing
1. Thursday Night 1972
2. Songs Of Texas
3. Feel Like A Rolling Stone
4. Self Deceiver
5. Tangled Leads
6. Shadows In The Night
7. Illusion Lies And Butterflies
8. Big Beat Radio
9. Playtime Is Over
10. Early Morning Light
11. The Waiting Song
12. My Baby Don’t Fade Away
13 The Art Of The Meltdown
14. Souled Out
15. Precious Thing
16. Winters Rose
17. Human After All
18. Forever Man

Added: January 14th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Great Unknown at Angel Air
Hits: 999
Language: english

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Glamweazel: The Great Unknown
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2019-01-15 04:22:05
My Score:

The best band you’ve never heard of? That’s the question posed in the liner notes of The Great Unknown, an 18-song compilation of previously released material from London’s Glamweazel. This band lives up to its name (inspired, apparently, by a British children’s television show character named Catweazel) -- making contemporary records that sound as if they were written at least 40 years earlier. Opening track “Thursday Night 1972” serves as a paean to Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie, and from there, the mood doesn't change much. Ultimately, The Great Unknown reveals too much of a good thing; the charm of these mid-paced acoustic-based ditties begins wearing a little thin as the album spirals deeper into its 74-minute running time.

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