When an indie band launches a career with a well-received album titled Dark Alien Pop, it sets up certain sonic expectations that might limit creative evolution. As fascinating and power-packed as gloryBots’ debut album was an expression of musical visionary of singer/guitarist and (what Beats Per Minute called a) alt-rock alchemist Jalal Andre, that was just the start of a fascinating, trippy, propulsive yet harmonic alien dream punk journey.
We don’t exactly get an explanation for why the original rhythm section split, but with the release of the perfectly, titled Radiation Skies, the trio’s most fiery and fascinating, hard driving yet uber-melodic and harmonic excursion yet, it matters much less than what celestial musical galaxies await. Tracks like the relentlessly rockin’ and percussive “Prove” and hypnotically grooving “Titan” reflect the fresh energy and immediate chemistry of Siberian born bassist Ilya Krisa (a multi-instrumentalist who’s made his mark as a guitarist in Seattle over the past decade) and drummer Don Gunn.
From their back stories, it looks like these guys were pretty determined to create a whole new earthbound foundation for Andre’s intergalactic but still wildly relatable rock musings. Krisa was so determined to assimilate to Andre’s revolutionary soundscapes as bassist that he repurposed his pedal toys and literally built and re-built his pedalboards. Gunn had been brought on board to mix the album, which featured Krisa and the previous drummer, but when the vacancy happened a few tunes in, Gunn kept mixing and took over behind the kit.
Sometimes even the most promising band can become even more perfect when circumstances dictate change – and, super happy to say, that’s what’s happened with gloryBots. Dig the throb behind the whimsical, U2-esque energy of “80’s Cusp” (in which Andre finds a lot of cool rhymes of words ending in “ation”), the way “False Alarm” lurches from cool acoustic number into a fiery swirl of buoyant and hoppin’, synth-driven fun and the emotional booming from the get go abandonment lament “Servile” and you’ll get the idea. gloryBots is still Andre’s baby and guided by his ever-expansive sonic vision – but now they’ll be going places he never could have imagined when they blasted onto the scene five years ago.