To call Glass Waves a trio is slightly misleading. While the credits for the download-only One Day We'll All Just Float Away credit singer/guitarist Jordan Heimburger, bassist Micah Johnson and drummer Nate Gregg for its sounds, the use of multi-tracked, carefully layered guitar parts are a distinctive and crucial part of the band's identity. (I haven't seen Glass Waves live yet, but the band had better be handy with looping pedals or have a Glenn Branca-like guitarmy on hand to recreate all these threads onstage.) It's to Heimburger's credit that the album's ten songs incorporate so many genres — most notably shoegaze, lo-fi indie rock and power pop — while retaining a fluid, shape-shifting amorphousness that keeps things cohesive. At times, Float feels like a grab bag of echo-heavy, mid-'90s guitar tricks — the beginning of "Take It In" nicks the hypnotic intro from Radiohead's "Paranoid Android," and "To Last" has the forward-motion strumming of an uptempo Jeff Buckley song. But the sonic interplay of the songs often buries Heimburger's voice instead of keeping it front and center, which leaves plenty of room for the circular patterns and sharp strokes of his guitar (as on the affecting "Virginia Tech"). The warm haze that envelops Glass Waves' songs isn't hard to penetrate, but it is the kind of album that rewards repeated listens and pulls the audience into its undertow.
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