Radiation Skies, the new album from alt-rock outfit gloryBots, demonstrates the evolving sound of the band, a sound reflecting their imaginative approach and ever-expanding sonic textures.
Made up of singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jalal Andre, Don Gunn (drums), and Ilya Krisa (bass), gloryBots’ lineup provides the matrix for the metamorphosis of their sound, illustrated by Krisa remodeling his pedalboards and guitar pedals to attain the desired bass tone.
Gunn was originally as the album’s mixing engineer, and he filled in on drums after the original drummer left. So, he not only mixed the album but added his deft rhythmic touch to the songs.
Encompassing 11 tracks, Radiation Skies begins with “Prove,” opening on slightly grungy guitars revealing a latent prog-rock feel, akin to Rush covering Soundgarden. When the tempo shifts, the tune assumes a dreamy quality, followed by ramping back up to the previous cadence.
From a subjective viewpoint, highlights include “Timeless,” with its thick wall-of-sound textures and crisp, crunching percussion. Andre’s smooth, rich vocals imbue the lyrics with pondering timbres.
“Could you feel the love, on this ride / Once you step inside, might lose your mind / Could you feel the love, on this ride / Would you step inside, and lose some time.”
“Unnatural” blends hints of new wave with dark alt-rock flavors into a psychedelic-lite melody topped by swirling leitmotifs. There’s a shadowy resonance to the harmonics, giving the song mystical surfaces.
A personal favorite and arguably the best song on the album because of the rounded, rumbling drums, “Hot Panic” thrums with urgent energy, forming a delicious earworm. Glowing waves of vocal harmonies infuse the lyrics with tight, luscious pressure.
“Girl neurotic / Turn your body on / They’ll never know, you’re just alone / Search constrained, thought you would know.”
Talking about the song, Jalal Andre says, “‘Hot Panic’ is about the struggles of a young woman coming of age in a world with a glass ceiling dominated by men.”
Tying the album off, “Titan” rides cracking percussion and the throbbing, finessed bassline of Krisa as Andre’s silky tones imbue the lyrics with tinctures of melancholy and yearning.
Intoxicating and forceful, built on dynamic rhythms and bold harmonic motifs, Radiation Skies delivers carefully crafted, captivating music.