One thing this country, nay, the whole world needs right now is some funky, fresh music to keep moods elevated under the current COVID circumstances. Answering the call is Lawrence, Kansas funk-soul-rock fusion band Glass Bandit, debuting onto the recording scene with a three-song EP, Reflections. The eight-piece Kansas co-op emphasizes self-worth, perseverance and, obviously, strength in numbers when it comes to their music and beyond.
If there ever was a time for mental deliverance, now would be it.
Starting with uplifting timbre and commanding horns, the track “Lonely Boy” welcomes listeners to Glass Bandit — a melodic journey of self-confidence. Lead singer Ben Schenberg sings “if he was a young boy with nothing to prove” or an old man “with nothing to lose”, doesn’t matter, all roads lead back to you. Schenberg’s vocals have a slight reminiscence of a 90s Barenaked Ladies sound although his style is quite his own. Fun keys come to light in the second verse with an extended guitar solo leading all the way to the final chorus.
The EP continues with second song “Unravelled”, a song about self-assurance despite the greatest obstacles. “There’s no way I’m not going to fly,” Schenberg croons, supported by upbeat instrumentals and a funky bass line. It’s as if a Phish song added horns. What’s notable about this track is the repetitive instrumental cutaways, whether that be the vocals with horns on the verses, the vocals with a drum and bass backing on the bridge or strong guitar strumming accompanying lyrics like “I win my battles”. All build on each other to an emotional catharsis at the end — the triumph of self-value over self-doubt. The long jam outro loops it all together in celebration.
The Glass Bandit ‘Reflections’ narrative concludes with “Blackbird”.
Any Beatles fan knows the lyrics “Blackbird singing in the dead of night // Take these broken wings and learn to fly”; Glass Bandit modernizes this theme with their own “Blackbird”: a unique track centering around the same ol’ concept of learning from heartache. “Without you, there ain’t a lot”, yet we had our good times. When the world gets to be too much, go in your car, scream your frustrations out and remember that I was there for you as you were for me… once upon a time. The instrumentals on this song ebb and flow, illuminating the nature of any complicated relationship. A bubble organ, saxophone and guitar marinate in the middle, leading to another expert guitar solo. Sure, we drove each other crazy, but at least we had our time.
And, that sums up Reflections to a ‘T’ — a contemplative portrait of positive energy. Don’t let outside negative, world news and setbacks get you down. All you need is yourself. Glass Bandit has officially released Reflections on all digital outlets as of May 8th, so check out the new EP wherever you find music or via the links below.
Purchase or stream ‘Reflections’ EP:
- Lonely Boy
Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.