They are about to release their debut album, but newcomers Glasvegas are making fans and music like old pros, and their confidence and singularity of purpose is such that, next up, they’re off to Transylvania to make a Christmas record. They talk to Brian
ALL THOSE polls at the turn of the year which were predicting the new big noises of 2008 seemed to focus exclusively on Adele and Duffy – with the pair of them sweeping all the “newcomer” awards before they even had their debut albums out. The band who came in at number three in most of these polls were barely mentioned: but more than one person will tell you that Glasvegas are stronger musically than Adele and Duffy put together, and are not just the best new band in Britain this year but quite possibly the world.
The legend began when former Creation Records boss Alan McGee took a return trip to Glasgow’s King Tut’s Wah Wah Club. Years earlier, at the same club, he had seen a thirdon-the-bill Oasis and declared them “the new best band I’ve ever seen”.
But when McGee saw Glasvegas play the same venue two years ago, he realised that they are a superior band to Oasis. Unable to “do an Oasis” with them because a good friend of his was already managing them, he contented himself with being their chief advocate.
It’s not often that Elvis Presley’s daughter, Lisa-Marie, gets on the phone to a new band to tell them how much she loves them, how she wants to cover their songs and how she wants to work with them. Or that Morrissey volunteers to be president of their fan club. But for Glasvegas, it was just the beginning of a music world sitting up and paying attention to their glorious pop-rock beat. It’s a sound that’s firmly rooted in ’50s rock’n’roll and doo-wop, but has been adorned with flashes of shoegazing and skewed country rock before being given a wall-of-sound production treatment. As The Who might say: this is meaty, beaty, big and bouncy music.
From the Dalmarnock area of Glasgow, which is basically a “nogo” area (it’s the sort of place that were they to have a tourist brochure, the front cover would feature a picture of derelict tenements). Lead singer and chief songwriter, James Allan, takes up the story: “It’s not the sort of place where you ever need to use the word “exotic” to describe it. It’s grey and it rains – and that’s about it. But I can see the beauty in it”.
His upbringing seeps uncontrollably into most of his songs. Glasvegas’s debut al-