Album Review: Buddy Glass – Wow and Flutter

Buddy Glass is the nom-de-plume of Bruno Brayovic who plays in Sydney Peabody (a veritable institution). He has a colourful history – arriving as a refugee from fascist Chile with his family in 1983 and starting life in the infamous Villawood Migrant Hostel.

This colourful past bleeds into his new album ‘Wow and Flutter’: a deeply personal and ultimately achingly beautiful collection of vignettes of life.

Wow and Flutter is quite raw – recorded on a vintage Tascam 424 MkII Portastudio 4-track cassette recorder at home in Marrickville, Australia – and yet despite the limitations of this technology, the songs are a message well delivered. It’s a salutary lesson: whatever the sophistication of the means of capture and production, it’s the songs that are important. And Buddy Glass has the requisite talent.

The first single off the album, ‘Wasted Habit’, is not necessarily representative of the album: it is punky and angry as opposed to many of the other songs that are quiet and reflective. It reflects a sense of self-anger – frustration at human frailties that cannot be gotten rid of:

The freaky cat insertions circles round to the recent single ‘No-one Can Tell You You’re Wrong’ which feature Glass’s late lamented cat ‘Nina’ in the video. The song is haunting and poignant, laying out for all to hear Glass’s expressive voice, delicate lyrics and melodic ear:

This is an exquisite song, coupled with the sense of loss captured in the video, capturing the lights of Marrickville – the epicentre of creativity in the inner west of Sydney. Glass says of the song and the video:

It takes a lot of courage to follow a dream. To disown everything around you and make your way through life doing what you really want to do. You might have to step on some necks. People and relationships will fall (or will be felled) by the side of the road. This song is about and for those who have that conviction and ambition. I don’t.

The video was made not long before my cat Nina passed away. It looks like it was an homage to her, and I guess it now kinda is, especially as she looks towards the setting sun in the final scene. The footage I got of her was just meant to be practice for the app I’m using to film, but upon revisiting it, I thought the shots really captured just how gentle and beautiful she was, so I kept it.

The other part of the split frame is just me driving down New Canterbury Rd from Petersham to Dulwich Hill. If you look closely early on, I managed to get one of the street lights just as it starts to flicker on. I was pretty happy with that.

‘If You Sail Out’ is breathtakingly beautiful: featuring the vocals of Rhiannon Back, it has the dream pop delivery that recollects Underground Lovers at their best: dreamy shoegaze with a hypnotising reverie:

Glasses’ Chilean past is captured with sensitivity in ‘The Spirit of a Small Town’, a deeply personal tale and indomitable power of human survival.

Glass sums up the album as thus:

Wow & Flutter’ was recorded by me in the back room of my house in Marrickville, on a TASCAM 4-track cassette recorder, in between dogs barking and babies crying. I had to buy cassettes online from Melbourne and bought and sold several 4-track machines until I found the right one. Tim Kevin, who recorded and mixed the first album, recorded a few extra bits and pieces and mixed it. The finished album is eight songs with a couple of different vibes.

There’s the more traditional singer-songwriter style of the first couple of tracks, ‘Promised Shoreline’ – a story about a couple whose faith is tested in life and death, and ‘The Spirit of a Small Town’ – a true account of the dark goings-on of my mother’s family and her birthplace in the south of Chile. But then the album settles into its second phase. The hypnotic, trance-inducing repetition of ‘The Bird’, ‘If You Sail Out’, ‘Wasted Habit’ and ‘Yuppie, Junkie, Athlete’. The album closes with ‘The Only’ – an epic checklist of modern malaises, combining the album’s two worlds into six minutes of 60s singer-songwriter-inspired folk-drone. Yeah, I know.

I hope you like Wow & Flutter. It took me a while but I think it’s worth it.

I do, and it certainly is.

`Wow & Flutter’ is an absolute delight: an immersive journey into the poetic and expressive world of Buddy Glass.

You can get it here or through the link below directly from the artist:

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