Ashes Grmmar (Sunny Day In Glasgow)
"Failure," the heady, glimmering fourth track on A Sunny Day in Glasgow's second full-length, 2009's Ashes Grammar, might just sum up the anxiety that led to the release of this album: "Fall forward, feel failure." In the two years since their 2007 debut came out, ASDIG have endured some serious (and largely involuntary) changes: bassist Brice Hickey was out of commission soon after recording was underway thanks to a broken leg; founding vocalist Lauren Daniels, busy with grad school, couldn't appear on the album; and her sister, vocalist Robin, was too busy tending to Hickey to spend much time in the studio. In spite of these setbacks, Ashes Grammar is a far more confident and cohesive album than its predecessor. Scribble Mural's ambitious multi-layered approach tended to weigh the album down; Ashes Grammar's artsy audio explorations, on the other hand, are generally fashioned around solid skeletons of pop-oriented hooks, lightening the listening experience considerably. This album features some of ASDIG's most pop-oriented work to date; tissuey, ghostly tracks like "Shy" and "Ashes Maths" and the comparatively angular, My Bloody Valentine-esque "The White Witch" stand up well next to Scribble Mural's very best moments. Really, the only complaint to be had with Ashes Grammar is its size. This disc is huge, almost self-indulgently so; clocking in at 22 tracks, Ashes Grammar demands quite a bit more patience than the average long-player, especially when it comes to cerebral, atmospheric material like this. The album's standout tracks suffer a little as a result -- by the time track 14 rolls around, it's a little difficult to hang on to the pounding exhilaration of "Failure." Those who power through this album, though, will be richly rewarded by ASDIG's diaphanous, highly intelligent take on noise pop.
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