(4 / 5)
Pretty unusual album this one. It may well be a Marmite moment for some. It took me three spins to get into it, and to appreciate its uniqueness. Tough one to categorise and sum up too. Straddles genres, for sure.
My Glass World is the invention of composer, singer and musician Jamie Telford – who has written and recorded with the likes of Paul Weller [he is on Top 10 hits with The Jam] and Richard Strange, scored classical music, and theatre music on a world tour of “Hamlet”, and he has made music for adverts and film.
Previous MGW releases have been championed on radio by Elbow’s Guy Garvey on BBC 6 Music and by the late Janice Long.
The 11-track album – their seventh since the 2011 debut “Book One” – features vocals and keyboards from Jamie, with sax’ and woodwind from Sean Read. Sean also worked with Jamie on production and mixing. Jamie penned all of the songs apart from a co-write of “White Out”, with Sean.
Sean’s previous musical credits include Edwyn Collins, Dexys Midnight Runners and recently, Dave Gahan and the Soulsavers. He is currently on tour with Dexys.
“Assorted Marvels” is the follow-up to My Glass World’s 2022 album “Tree.Shadow.Piano”. Most of the songs on the new one were written and recorded in 2022 and in this year in Scotland – the remainder in London, where they were all finished off and mixed.
The album title comes from the former name of a Victorian shop in Kennington, London – now run as a gallery by Jamie’s artist friends Rob Kesseler and Agalis Manessi.
The new album opens with the gentle vibes of “For Your Love”, which sits on top of a Wurlitzer piano track and understated horns. Next up, the moody nod to Tears For Fears of “Citizen Of Nowhere”, a protest song on behalf of those displaced through war, strife, earthquake and climate change.
“We Are One” has shades of George Harrison. “White Out” – the first single taken from this long player – is track five on the CD, but listed as track four on the album cover. It’s a bit Squeeze-ish or maybe even a little Madness-ish. “Here We Go” is back to those Tears For Fears flavours.
“21st Century Girl” is one of the strongest cuts on the album, for me, as is the lovely “Under The Sun”. “Genghis Khan” is another very enjoyable track and again channels Tears For Fears, and is as credible as their stuff too.
The beautiful closer, “Everybody Here They Come”, has a wee bit of a McCartney meets Pink Floyd feel to it; the soaring soprano/falsetto of Ruby Barker adding much ethereal value which is very Floyd-ish.
Musicians assembled for this project joining Jamie and Sean are Jon Kensington on bass, Martyn Kaine on drums, Stephen (or Steven – it is spelled both ways on the album credits) Gilchrist on drums, Hugh Wilkin on drums, Jimi Scandal on guitar, Little Barrie on guitar and Ruby Barker who is credited for “Female Vocalese” on the closing track.
I can say I found this set relaxing, soothing and a weenie bit addictive. It is not the stuff to stick on when you want to get up and throw shapes, or when you want to stick your foot on the gas and drive like a F1 star (on private roads, of course!).
If you fancy switching off, chilling out and letting these well-crafted tracks wash over you like a warm bath, this is a decent soundtrack to do it to. Well written, well performed and well produced.
Not conveyor belt pop, or rock, or predictable r&b or blues or jazz or anything. It kind of sits on its own. Filing this under a category in a record store (what is left of them) would be a head-scratcher of a task.
Not usually the style of music I’d have chosen to listen to myself, before it was sent to me by my editor with the note: “I think this might be your kind of thing to review…”, but I am glad it found it’s way to me. In fact, I have already begun digging into the back catalogue.
P.S. I cannot stand Marmite!
Words by Alex Morgan
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’