It’s taken Gavin Glass five years to complete his fourth album ‘Sunday Songs’ – he hasn’t been locked away in a studio night and day honing its eight songs with the religious zeal of a folk monk though. During that time he’s honed his production skills working with The Hot Sprockets, The Minutes, John Grant and Conor O’Brien, The Eskies and Twin Headed Wolf to name but a few. In fact, he’s been so in demand as a producer it’s a wonder he found time for ‘Sunday Songs’ at all.
The result is as much a testament to his production skills as his songwriting chops. ‘Sunday Songs’ achieves the kind of sonic authenticity most folk troubadours grow bitter in the pursuit of. Deft dollops of instrumentation interweave throughout Glass’ soundscapes to create equally rich and sparse textures. This is matched by the experiential tilt of Glass’ lyrics, which filter the emotional scars that cause lost sleep and the nagging possibilities that leave you to drift out a train window into what might have been. Lyrically, this is very much an album that says ‘this is who I am and these are the scars that made me this way.’
Better Left Alone provides the lyrical lynchpin upon which the entire album hangs, melding personal experience of heartache with compassion for someone you’ve hurt in a way you’ve been hurt before. “And If you think of me on the nights that you find yourself sleeping alone/ Pay no mind to it, you know these things are better left alone” – a compassion that says you have to move forwards.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate the past whilst considering the future. Sunday Songs mourns the passing of youthful revelry “Did we peak before our time?” and if so what now? And where to next? The answer of course is “We’ll keep rolling on.”
A sizzle of feedback is overpowered by gentle piano motifs and violins on Silhouettes as Glass leads us through the kind of high romance you’d expect from Cherry Ghost or Richard Hawley, while Light Heart takes on the more upbeat elements of the aforementioned troubadours. Expect to hear either of these songs on your radio soon.
First Stone and Rise and Fall don’t quite reach the heights of the rest of the material on ‘Sunday Songs’. The fingerpicking of the former evokes early Dylan too strongly, and the latter fails to resonate as passionately as earlier efforts such as Silhouettes.
With ‘Sunday Songs’ Gavin Glass has turned the old adage that ‘those who can, do, and those who don’t, produce’ on its head. Glass can do both in equal measure and that’s unfortunate for his contemporaries. They’ll be hoping it takes him another five years to release a record. We won’t.