A Sunny Day In Glasgow, Scribble Mural Comic Journal

Frances May Morgan

By Frances May Morgan

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

A Sunny Day in Glasgow's first full-length album is an intriguing collection of dreamy, haunting pop songs and sound-sketches, its title perhaps a neat allusion to the impressionistic and transitory sound the Philadelphia-based trio debuted on their 2006 EP, C'mon, most of which is included here.

An intriguing collection of dreamy, haunting pop songs and sound-sketches.

As befits a family project — the band consists of a brother and two sisters — there's an intimate, almost hermetic feel to the recording, traces of footsteps and traffic sound lingering in the mix. Lauren and Robin Daniels'perfectly matched voices echo around brother Ben's shimmering guitars, keys and beats as if speaking a private sibling language.

While the gentle dissonance, layered vocals, and liberal use of delay bring to mind contemporaries Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear and CocoRosie, A Sunny Day in Glasgow also draws upon the shoegaze bands of the early '90s, especially Lush, Slowdive, and the Pale Saints, along with occasional nods to the fuzzed-up excesses of My Bloody Valentine or the Jesus and Mary Chain. This is a seam of influence that bands were sure to start mining sooner or later, but A Sunny Day in Glasgow do so with an assured and affectionate touch.

The band also steps outside the shoegaze template with interesting results: "Number 6 Von Karman Street" is based around a gentle acid-house rhythm, recalling both 808 State and the poignant, sub-aquatic disco of Arthur Russell. On "A Mundane Phonecall to Jack Parsons" and "Our Change into Rain Is No Change at All (Talkin'’Bout Us)," distorted motorik beats booms beneath percussive keyboards and precise vocals that echo Stereolab or the deliciously impersonal singing of Broadcast's Trish Keenan. In fact, Broadcast's presence recurs throughout the album, not only in the retro-futurist feel of the harmonies on "Things Only I Can See," but also in the spacious, radiophonic production, with its bursts of atmospheric noise and echoing, galloping drums. This, in turn, is a nod to production pioneers Joe Meek and Phil Spector, key references that confirm A Sunny Day in Glasgow's place in the psychedelic bubblegum continuum of which they're clearly enamoured.