Over the past couple of years, Chicago avant-pop outfit Glass Famine has been reworking and refining their sound from all manner of angles. To hear them tell it, they've been in a near constant state of movement since the band was initially founded a few years ago. And in those few years, they've undergone a series of tumultuous rhythmic redesigns, discovering new musical avenues in the process while casting older ones aside.
"At first, we were maximalist improv'ing loopers with two dozen guitar pedals and old wheezing synths," the band explains. "We then force-fitted this sound to an 808 drum machine beat and started writing more proper songs, although in a bit of a synthpop-ian manner. All the while we were haunted by the older music we deeply loved...like Kevin Ayers, Scott Walker, Stereolab, Lee Hazlewood and Bolan."
You can easily hear this broad musical absorption in the deliberate curves and twists of their new single, "Grumbling Bellies," a track that owes as much to '80s sophisti-pop as it does to the deceptive serration of post-punk or the mutated pop melodies of someone like Ariel Pink or Panda Bear. The song effortlessly details these expansive influences while setting out to create something entirely distinct in its approach to pop music, a warped beauty that finds resolution in the spiky guitar lines, layered vocals and fractured rock arrangements that wrap themselves throughout its length..
"Grumbling Bellies" possesses a strange fluidity and a feeling of nocturnal instincts laid bare in the low moonlight, of acutely felt experience and elastic inspiration. The song doesn't give answers easily, holding its secrets close to its chest. But through the wash of prickly guitar riffs, wobbly percussive ambiance and complicated vocal work, you slowly begin to see the basic shapes that form its internal structure. And by illuminating both its musical antecedents and the ways in which it casts off that collective weight, the band discovers a unique take on the elaborate mechanisms of experimental pop music.