Album Review: A Sunny Day In Glasgow – Sea When Absent

I can’t remember the first time I heard A Sunny Day In Glasgow, but I do remember how I felt. I felt as if I’d found this wonderful musical gift. Part dream pop, part shoegaze, and yet still totally modern. They were taking the building blocks of those late-80s noise genres and turning into something all their own. Ben Daniels and Ever Nalens started the band after returning to the US from being in Europe for years. Daniels is now the only original member after several line-up changes(including his twin sisters who sang in the band before leaving during the recording of their excelllent 2009 album Ashes Grammar.) Sea When Absent is long overdue, but the wait has been worth it.

“Byebye, Big Ocean(The End)” opens the album beautifully. It sounds like Kevin Shields remixing Cocteau Twins. Synths jumping from left to right as Annie Fredrickson and Jen Goma sing over the noise blasts. “In Love With Useless(The Timeless Geometry in the Tradtion of Passing)” is another blast of neo-futuristic pop. Towards the end of the song it turns into a Lush-like chorus. “Crushin'” brings Cocteau Twins to mind. Airy and melancholy. “MTLOV(Minor Keys)” is nothing short of inspiring with it’s “break in the clouds” bigness.

Ben Daniels doesn’t wear his influences on his sleeve as much as he weaves them into the fabric of his shirt sleeve. “The Things They Do To Me” takes some modern Medicine and mixes it with a dash 80s synth pop. A collaboration between Brad Laner and Ben Daniels would be something to behold. “Never Nothing(It’s Alright[It’s Ok])” is A Sunny Day In Glasgow in full-on Cocteau Twins mode. This song would’ve sounded right at home on Blue Bell Knoll.

What I love about A Sunny Day In Glasgow is that they create these emotional worlds where you’re free to feel what you want. You’re not led along like so many other bands do to their listeners. “Feel sad now.” “Feel happy now.” Sea When Absent is an album awash in emotional twists and turns. One person may find a song a bit melancholy while another will find the same song uplifting. That’s the beautiful thing about dream pop and shoegaze, it’s all about perspective. A Sunny Day In Glasgow have made a masterpiece of beautiful sound and sometimes haunting melody



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