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(Credit: Kristen Jan Wong and Lucas David)

Music

Alice Glass presents an album that is high on invention with 'PREY//IV'

Alice Glass - 'PREY//IV'
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6.7
6.7

When Yoko Ono unveiled Season of Glass decades ago, one of her key aims was to offer a truth from the mouthpiece of a woman wronged by a world of burling men. Her album inspired a whole following, instilling a movement that was equal parts brilliant and ridiculous at the same time. Alice Glass‘ debut aims to reach the standard set by Ono, curating a fiery album that sounds blindingly inventive, but suffers from an unoriginal angle from which the album takes hold.

The story is loosely based on the narrative of a volatile domestic relationship-in this case overwrought with images of drugs and pills-and the melodies entertain this paradigm by presenting a series of chords that are never obvious. Some of the vocal performances are striking but could be more so, and the album flits somewhere between the maudlin and the inspired in equal measure. 

If Alice Glass exhibits anything with this album, it’s her skills as an arranger, in her use of positioning instruments in an explosive package, and in her use of dynamics, from the whispering keyboards to the barrelling drum beats that blow off the listeners ear like a convoy of bombs dropping onto the ground. The record espouses a series of aphorisms, of which ‘Love Is Violence’ is the most refined, culminating in a scintillatingly produced anthem that rips into the core of the listeners’ experience. 

‘Everybody Else’ is similarly memorable, etching at the stranglehold that submits a woman to her perennial distress before demonstrating a fondness for electronics with ‘The Hunted’. The themes are striking, albeit laced with hesitancy from the singer’s part, and if she was hoping to unveil an uncompromisingly dense album that would spawn a generation of imitators, then this isn’t it. 

But it does have merit, particularly on the gently moving ‘Sorrow Ends’, an ambient instrumental album that recalls the sound collages of Brian Eno. When we hear Glass, she’s drowning in reverb, as if suggesting that the best way to proceed in this dangerous world is through silence. The silence suits Glass, but so does the colosseum of noise that cements ‘I Trusted You’, the album’s most impactful and lingering track. 

The album works best when it strives to be its own creature. Ono’s shadow hangs over ‘Animosity’, making it impossible what part of it is truthful and which of it is performance art. Because the best way to pay tribute to the far-reaching performance artists is to do something unknown to them, thereby re-creating the lexicon of idiosyncratic rock. 

PREY//IV falls short of that mark, but it’s a decidedly interesting and inventive way the album falls.