The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Glossies Engross With Their Approach

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 21, 2011 4:00PM

2011_12_glossies.jpg The debut album from Glossies, Phantom Films, is going to sound pretty familiar to even to casual fans of the local music scene. It will probably remind you an awful lot of output from OFFICE, currently on hiatus, and that would make a lot of sense since it's the latest nom de chanson of the leader of that group, Scott Masson. When he tipped us off to his new project it came with the warning that it was weirder than his previous output so he was hoping listeners would be patient and put up with some of his odder tendencies.

Phantom Films is not, however, a difficult album for any listener to embrace. Masson's deep gift for melody is as strong as ever and while some of the songs embrace a few more baroque turns than the new wave tendencies of OFFICE might have hinted at these tunes are far from difficult. If anything a love for strong songcraft is tempered by enough heart to make even the studio nerd moments, there is a tendency to throw in the odd harpsichord here and there, feel more prescient than precious.

We suspect the "difficult part" of Phantom Films is more related to the subject matter, and if we were Masson we could understand his discomfort at revisiting some of these songs since they loosely outline his own withdrawal from Chicago to Detroit and the tumult that accompanied that time in his life. Masson stares inward with unflinching and unforgiving honesty to guide us along terrain built upon mental dissonance through pathways woven from melodies and transforming inner pain into an aural rainbow of pleasures.

It's not unusual to see an artist try and create tension between the light and the dark but it is quite the trick to transpose the two against each other and end up with something so immediately pleasurable. There is no shallowness here though, don't misinterpret that statement. Instead the emotional turbulence informing the music keeps the darkness swirling beneath the surface, forcing the waters above into constantly shimmering patterns instead of placid panes of stained glass. And it's this interplay that makes Phantom Films such a deeply satisfying, broadly cinematic, listening experience.

MP3: Glossies "Down-Size Baby"