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Levy Glorious Review

Album. Released 2007.  

BBC Review

Well-produced work, full of clever pop arrangements and smart lyrical twists.

Danny Payne 2007

On Glorious, Brooklyn crooner James Levy and his democratically-monikered band, Levy, have lovingly crafted an album of melodic, theatrical pop: A sound nestling comfortably between shiny-modern and sepia-tinted; on the cusp of Hoxton trendy and music your uncle dances idiotically to at a wedding.

Although it’s a well-produced work, full of clever pop arrangements and smart lyrical twists, Glorious too often slips into auditory discomfort. Levy’s default vocal setting of as-much-as-you-can-give-and-then-some leaves him nowhere to turn when a song needs a lift, ensuring they repeatedly rely on Coldplay-esque musical crescendos to build layers. The passion with which these well-crafted songs are delivered is both genuine and commendable; but it can be as exhausting as exhilarating to listen to.

In many ways Glorious is a fine pop album; particularly on the title track, second song "So Hard", mid-album highlight "King James" and closer, "Beneath ‘em All". These are real gems, but it’s let down by occasional forays into lounge-kitsch: When it’s good, it’s well-written, arms in the air, anthemic power-pop. When it falls short, it sounds like Mika for the morose.

There’s enough to hang onto here to believe that with their next album Levy can reach their plateau. The choppy guitars and potentially harder-hitting, more rugged tracks that too often give way to end-of-the-pier-show choruses may get the space to evolve, and another year grafting on the live circuit will surely add steel to the undoubted melodic silk. Glorious ticks enough of the boxes to be a hit and although there’s enough about this album to leave you cold at times, you’ll be whistling many of these songs long into the night after you’ve held your lighter aloft to them at a festival. And that might just be good enough.

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