The Gladeyes: Psychosis of Love (Lil' Chief)

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The Gladeyes: Monika
The Gladeyes: Psychosis of Love (Lil' Chief)

In a recent article for an art magazine I wrote about some of the work I had seen by young painters in Sydney: I noted there was a frequent and conspicuous retreat into whimsy which seemed an early admission of defeat, as if these young talents were abdicating from the demands of making any serious statement. It was as if cute of itself was enough and that it would be elevated into importance by curators and critics.

Influences from Asian culture (the Hello Kitty Generation has grown up?) were also scattered around. Ironic? Not really.

There's a lot of similar cuteness in pop music these days (with the customary hints of depth by notions of darkness, and of course "irony") and the recent Brunettes album Paper Dolls highlighted the problem of this particular cul de sac.

Much as I have tried to like this debut album by the Gladeyes (Jade Farley and Gwen Horcliffe plus various Brunette musicians and Lil' Chief artists) I find it deliberately cute, whimsical and coy -- and in many places willfully juvenile. Which might be ironic, of course.

Here are many songs of boy-girl stuff (I can imagine a 13-year old on the phone in her bedroom, crying) and the backing vocals in many places are a kids choir so as to underscore a certain naivety.  Check the opener or The End of the World Because You Don't Love Me Anymore. 

This is musically clever, there is no doubt about that: There He Goes is a Velvet Underground drone as if written and sweetened by a Brill Building songsmith (Carole King in her early years), and Shyness Will Get You Nowhere comes off as a contemporary riff on old Flying Nun (Look Blue Go Purple/ Bats) . . . but that just reinforces the idea that these people are smart however prefer that retreat into whimsy and cute.

The album title suggests this ain't aimed at tweenies either. But it sounds like it in places -- until a guitar scoures in or you can click to its many references to previous pop.

Pop music need not have any great import and I'm a real sucker for it: but this album with its wee girl voices (these are adults remember) are slightly artless lyrics (deliberate I am guessing) is so high on the sleeve-sucking cute factor (oh, giggling too) that it is clearly not made for me.

I pass . . . and will pass it on to a tweenie who has just started seeing a boy and mopes a lot. 

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Deeper than you - Nov 26, 2009

Graham Reid's superficiality is as careless as his observation.If he cared to listen or read (ironic REID)
or even had the tiniest intellectual sensitivity , he would see the depth of The Gladeyes songs which are drawn on experiences that are beyond any that that he has known(thus his lack of insight)and of a maturity that cut to the very depth of the human soul.

Perhaps he still has a tweeny mind to match his tweeny hair.

Laughing - Nov 30, 2009

Excuse me, Deeper Than You..."cut to the very depth of the human soul"? I'm sorry, I can't stop laughing. Is this a piss take? It has to be.
Otherwise, I find it ironic that someone would accuse a reviewer (who took the time to honestly voice an opinion) of a "lack of maturity" and then proceed to make an adolesent comment about the reviewers personal appearance, like some...well...TWEEN.

The music clip speaks for itself. I think my ears are bleeding.

edmundo blanco - Jan 8, 2010

Oh grow up, both of you. Reid clearly doesn't know what he's talking about, because the Gladeyes may be somewhat 'cute' at time, but are not contrived like bands such as the Brunettes who carefully constructed their twee Americana thing. Norcliffe and Farley are miles above the majority of boring indie pop being churned out today, though I can see how you'd be confused. As someone who listens to about a million different genres and actually kinda HATES most indie pop, I can say that they are accomplished songwriters and probably one of the most important bands currently making music in NZ. I guess most people will figure that out in ten years time.

Also, "wee girl voices"? A bit sexist, dare I say? Perhaps that's just how they naturally song? Don't automatically assume something is bad because a 13 year old girl might enjoy it. They're smarter than you think.

But bla bla bla! Get a haircut, hippy! ;)

yah - Feb 22, 2010

seconded, and bemused by the review. for me this was easily the best record out of this country last year. a couple of other critiques I saw really nailed how good this record is. so if Graham Reid/your nana doesn't like it/get it? meh. he's not exactly a critic paid attention to by actual music lovers.

Agrees w Graham - Apr 23, 2010

I agree with Graham, I don't hear much on this record that makes it stand out from most shaking waifs on the indie pop scene. We already have Camera Obscura! We don't need a NZ version, thanks.

Disagrees with Graham - May 3, 2010

Camera Obscura is a pretty rudimentary comparison "Agrees with Graham". Besides if you don't like indie music, why bother commenting on it?

I love the Gladeyes album, and it's really great to see two young women in New Zealand, writing, recording and producing their own beautiful album. I don't believe that Graham bothered to do much research or listening to the record either considering the inaccuracies in his review. There is in fact only a childrens choir singing on one, very beautiful song on the album. "Shyness will get you nowhere" is a cover. Oh, and I believe Gwen's last name is Norcliffe, not Horcliffe.

And yeah, Edmundo Blanco is right? Give 13 year old girls a little credit. They are not as stupid or irrelevant or mopey as you seem to make them out to be. And neither, Graham, is the Gladeyes album. Take a closer listen.

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