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Album Review

#TBT: The Glow, Pt. 2

- Connor Twohey

October 1, 2015

As of September 25th, it has been 14 years since the release of The Microphones’ masterpiece album, The Glow, Pt. 2. It is also, arguably, former frontman Phil Elverum’s magnum opus. Even though Elverum has made great music under his new title, Mount Eerie, this will always stand out to me as his “Mona Lisa”, for lack of a better metaphor. Never has an album cover been so representative of the music contained within, at least from my point-of-view. This album feels personal, but at the same time, it feels colossal and almost frightening at times. It almost sounds like I’m listening in on something that was never any of my business. It may partly be because of the lo-fi recording, but I think it is mostly because of how personal and emotive the album is as a whole. There are not many traditional “songs” on here, but a lot of shorter pieces of songs. However, none of these sound incomplete or out of place. Instead, they all flow into each other perfectly, as if the album was just one long recording, and the band just started playing the next song after the last one ended. This makes the album an engaging, unpredictable listen all the way through. There is something about the music here that seems slightly “off”, sometimes almost in an eerie way. Take, for example, the song “I Want Wind To Blow”: The strums of the guitar are multi-layered, and sometimes sound almost out-of-sync, as if the song may fall apart at any moment. This adds to the tension that the song sustains throughout its running time. Elverum’s voice only adds to this, with the incredibly personal nature of the lyrics, and the way he sings them. While the music can be a bit off-kilter at times, there is still irresistible warmth about it. Another example comes in the song “The Glow, Pt. 2”. The song starts out with heavy distorted guitar riffs. From there, the song takes its more personal tone again, but soon reaches a point where the droning organ (I think it’s an organ) note gets louder and louder, as Elverum’s singing gets more and more emotional. I can’t really put it into words well, but suffice it to say, this song gives me chills overtime I hear it. This is an album that is definitely equal to the sum of its parts. It’s over an hour long, but the shorter tracks are what truly set this album apart from other lo-fi folk-y albums. Little touches, like the foghorn that can be heard at different points in the running time, are infinitely rewarding once noticed. This album, for me, served as a gateway into truly experimental music, but it took me more than a few listens to really understand the genius of this album, when I was first directed towards it, a few years back. Yes, it’s long, and yes, it is intimidating on the first listen, but this is an album that truly rewards those who appreciate it. It is a landmark in the lo-fi indie genre that it is usually placed in. It is one of the most important records of the 2000s, and definitely one of my favorite albums of all time. I whole-heartedly recommend this album to anyone who is reading, and hope that it will have just as much of an impact on listeners as it has had on me. - Connor Twohey

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