Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., Feb. 7, 2014
GleesonGleeson II (Almost There)
Even when they turn out to be lousy with filler, there's something innately exciting about cracking the seal on a double vinyl album. Who can resist the allure of four-sided high-rock ambition and a grand gatefold to stare at (or roll a joint on) while listening? So crackles the spirit of Gleeson's second LP. Function follows form as the local sixpiece, led by Almost There Records enthusiast Ty Chandler, incants snatches of Exile on Main St., Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and ELO's Out of the Blue onto a loose narrative comprised of ragged pop songs, beer-light piano balladry, and ornate pop exclamation points augmented by strings and horns. "Fall" and "Spring," the respective set-pieces that open each disc, set a wistful tone that carries throughout, while pocket operetta "Queen of Boulevards" intertwines glam and vaudeville. The strategic fiddle solo on "Better on My Own" embodies solitary stoicism in a blizzard of closing-time guitar fuzz. Front to back, Gleeson II stacks a heck of a ride.