How We Handle Our Midnights
First Appeared at The Music Box, November 2003, Volume 10, #11
Written by John Metzger
Who says alt-country and indie rock are dead? Sure, theyíve been propelled into the mainstream, co-opted by countless commercial enterprises, and turned into mindless, generic tripe. But someone forgot to tell Glossary that those early days when the stars of alt-country and indie rock were rising are now over. The groupís third album How We Handle Our Midnights contains all the firepower of Neil Young and all the country twang of Uncle Tupelo. Although the combination sounds similar in scope to Dinosaur Jr., itís nowhere near as irksome.
On its previous outings, Glossary tended to bash out song after song, riding out on a blaze of guitar glory but frequently forgetting that melodies are what make songs memorable. How We Handle Our Midnights retains a chorus of clamoring guitars but also adds a wealth of infectious hooks, turning the collection into a guitar-pop fanís dream come true. The lyrics are good, too, mixing equal parts hope and hopelessness that perfectly capture the unending frustration middle America faces in its struggle to survive. "On the ground you can draw a map of how you hope your life turns out/But tomorrow that will just be a pile of dirt," sings frontman Joe Kneiser on The Rutherford County Line as the music churns around him, masking the resignation of grand plans laid to waste. Thereís a restlessness that grows within the music, one that tries however hard to grasp onto an escape plan, only to see it drift away. That it floats above the fading open space upon the wings of fuzzed-out guitars and rolling rhythms only makes the music that much more bittersweet.
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box