Who the heck are Glasvegas anyway?
They couldn't be more different. On the one hand, you have Metallica, blowtorch-hot and as in-your-face as it gets. On the other, you have Glasvegas, ethereal, heartbreaking doo-wop that imagines Phil Spector's wall-of-sound mashed-up with The Jesus And Mary Chain.
So why are these two groups being mentioned in the same breath? Because, as unlikely as it seems, they're both duking it out for the number one spot on the UK charts.
Everybody this side of Alpha Centauri knows who Metallica are. But what of Glasvegas? What to make of this Scottish four-piece that appear to have come out of nowhere and, in just under a year's time, captured the hearts and minds (and wallets) of hundreds of thousands of music fans?
The band is comprised of cousins James Allan (singer and principal songwriter) and Rab Allan (guitgar), bassist Paul Donoghue and drummer Caroline McKay. They formed in 2000 but it took them til 2006 to catch the attention of Alan McGee (founder of Creation Records), who has backed them ever since.
Their first single, Daddy's Gone, was released in 2007 on Sane Man Recordings and quickly made an impression with the music cognoscenti. Their second single, It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry, was released in February of this year. After an intense bidding war, the group signed with Columbia Records.
Produced by James Allan and Rich Costey, Glasvegas's eponymous debut album (which includes re-recordings of Daddy's Gone and It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry), is the kind of album that makes you believe in possibilities again. It's unguarded, emotion-drenched music, teenage symphonies to God that still make sense all grown up; vibrant enough to bring you out of a dull funk and vital enough that it can actually make you care again. Isn't that something to celebrate at a time like this?
Raw, wounded, yet joyful
Listening to its rough, raw yet wounded sound - rockabilly meets gloom-rock is the easiest way to describe it, yet it's strangely joyful, not a downer at all - is like being thrust into some sort of time warp in which you can hear all the music you've loved your entire life. Even so, you're left with questions, the way you are when you close a book you've just breezed through and you wish for just one more chapter. Where can this go? What will happen next? What other thrilling star-turns can this band take?
In all likelihood, Metallica will rule the day and the charts and come in at number one. But the real triumph is that of Glasvegas, who have proved that the upstarts can still make some noise if they make the right kind of noise.
Check out Glasvegas's video of Daddy's Gone.