Ahead of the upcoming release of their fourth album, Alyssa Gelata looks back on where it all began for the Glorious Sons.
It’s 2015, and I am on my way to Big Music Fest in Kitchener, ON. As I get myself through security and make sure I know where to meet my friends, a somewhat local band that I’ve never heard of before is playing their hearts out to the slowly growing, but still small, crowd. I was there to watch the American bands Soundgarden and Jane’s Addiction. Still, one of the memories that stands out the most from that day was the Glorious Sons’ barefooted vocalist Brett Emmons running around the massive stage. His energy was infectious. The whole band’s energy was contagious; I needed to hear more.
Now that the Glorious Sons is ramping up to release another album by releasing some gritty singles, I thought it might be interesting to look back at their first EP, Shapeless Art. The first two songs on the EP, “White Noise” and “Mama,” show up on their first full album, The Union, and I think those are the two songs that really caught people’s attention. They’re shining examples of Canadian rock, clearly polished, yet a few imperfect qualities draw a listener in further.
The title track feels like a spiritual predecessor to my favourite song on The Union, “Lightening.” Just like the first two songs on this EP and just like “Lightning”, this one is uplifting. “Shapeless Art” is the type of song you want to listen to when you’ve had a bad day and just want to cruise through the night in the countryside with your windows up. The lyrics and the ebb and flow of the instruments help you take those calming breaths and, at the same time, slowly bring your mood up. It is my favourite song off of this EP, and I wish it were just as popular as “White Noise” and “Mama” because I think it deserves to be listened to more.
“Caroline” doesn’t seem to fit this EP, and I think it’s because the Glorious Sons were experimenting with different songwriters and vocalists. This song carries the same warm feeling that even the most driving Glorious Sons songs bring forward, but without Emmons’s vocals, it feels out of place.
Interestingly “Baby” and “Ruby”, the final two songs on this EP, are what I thought of first when I heard the Glorious Sons’ newest singles, “Dream” and “Mercy Mercy.” What I like the most about “Baby” and “Ruby” are their rough edges. The blasting guitar and howling vocals in “Baby” feel good to belt along with. “Ruby” is like a love letter to the classic rock artists who came before. Every little piece of the song is a little gritty and brings listeners to the end of the EP with a playful push.
I like to believe that owning a physical copy of this EP puts me in the “I liked them before they were cool” category of Glorious Sons fans, but I can’t take all the credit for that. I wasn’t expecting to find a new band to love that day but here I am eight years later, highly anticipating their next album.