Yes, I'm talking about the man himself: the lead singer of Glassjaw, Daryl Palumbo. The man who had one of the best character redemption arcs in post-hardcore history. The man who singlehandedly decided that telling women to "suck on the end of this dick that cums lead" was a bad thing and was able to mature beyond that. Crazy, right? This is why Glassjaw is based!
Seriously though, Daryl Palumbo, Justin Beck and company managed to pull out a unique sound in post hardcore. Daryl has a very off kilter and strange, yet influential vocal approach. It has the theatrics of Mike Patton, the snarling emotive intensity of Fugazi, topped off with the tonal approach of Chino Moreno from Deftones. To match his unchained, animalistic style, there is guitarist Justin Beck, who manages to cover so many spaces and areas despite being the lone guitarist in the band. His technical skill with effects and his keen, sharp ear for creative dissonance with the instrument is basically indescribable: just learn to play guitar yourself and you'll see. The rest of the band's lineup is very inconsistent but no matter what they are always able to match the insane style of Daryl and Justin. The rhythms on this album drive a good deal of it: no space is left unfilled by any member. It's impeccably tight, yet so all over the place. That's Glassjaw.
However, even for Glassjaw this EP was a sudden left turn. In an already unique discography, this sticks out like a boner in light grey sweatpants.
The band manage to maintain their post-hardcore style, but this just becomes the middle flavour in a scoop of neopolitan genre ice cream. This EP manages to find that sweet spot between hardcore and pop and amp it up to a thousand. This entire EP is an organised mess of genres, coming together in this hauntingly seductive experience. If I got high enough I'd fuck this album: it's just that hot.
Black Nurse is a real kick-in-the-dick experience, even in the first few seconds. The rumbling, detuned guitar intro will remind you of something a metalcore band such as Bring Me The Horizon would dish up but the quiet soundscape that surrounds it throws any hint of overbearing edginess a riff like that would usually carry out the window. This song's mood changes quick, Daryl sing-moaning across the track almost hymn style. The entire track comes together in a rather hypnotic experience, almost as if the entire thing was an ancient hymn that arose from the grave and was given crack as soon as it'd been revived.
Gold, my favourite track has vocal passages that could very well fit on any number of epic 2000s alt metal instrumentals but with the help of the manic, thunderous drums and Justin's rumbling, crunchy guitar tone, it's transformed into a horrifyingly beautiful picture. This feels like it'd be the soundtrack to a 2020's remake of Jaws: it's that brooding. Eventually, as Justin's guitar becomes glitcher, the song becomes woozier and the trance that the album has put you in thus far refuses to break.
Now, with a name like "Vanilla Poltergeist Snake" you'd think the title would be pretty self explanatory. Well, guess what? You'd be right. It's really as the name suggests: but in the most gratifying and fulfilling way. Any signs of post-hardcore are gone on this song. After taking away the rumbling distortion, what's left is an apocalyptic experimental pop song. Daryl goes full ASMR for you in the first verse, giving an almost Dillinger Escape Plan-esque whisper-sing performance. The dancing synths and crashing bass give it that uneasy, deathly feel that, while creepy, hits the musical g spot with ease. Talk about versatility, Jesus Christ!
You've probably heard the guitar effect on "Miracles in Inches" before. That hollow, "woaw" sound that's been used on many a nu-metal song before. Unlike nu-metal however, this doesn't feel gimmicky and manages to incorporate itself quite easily into the song: becoming a glitch in the matrix by the end of it. Justin Beck at his fucking peak - using all of these strange ass effects to carve out a fucking disturbing but beautiful soundscape. Daryl vocally freestyles over this shit like it's nothing. No conventional chug chug chug chug chug? No problem! There's no reason not to go apeshit. Even the guitars and bass themselves go apeshit at the end of the track with a non conventional, noisy and dynamic instrumental climax. This is just testament to each member's talents.
A woozy half-piano ballad enters next. Stations of the New Cross tries the trance effect once again, using it's lullaby-like quality to accustom you to Daryl's dreary singing. In the back, ring these sparse drums behind this watery guitar effect, placing the band's sound in an unnaturally dreamy state. Well, that is until the bridge hits you across the face with a cheese grater. That one single, energetic guitar line grabs the song and throws it into new territory, pushing its dramaticism right into your face. You don't even realise it was there when the original chorus comes back, followed by the simple one note bass outro that probably goes to the rhythm of your heartbeat by the time you're here.
It's already felt like a full album by the time you've gotten to Daytona White. It's almost as if Daytona White realises this too. The track seems to be like the end of a dream: the last few remaining moments of bliss that are showing signs of entering the land of consciousness once again. It almost runs like a Thom Yorke solo project song, minus Thom Yorke of course and add in some 30 year old post-hardcore veterans on the quest for new territory. Any evidence of Thom Yorkery is erased by the middle, overcome with some familiar growly metal tones, distorted drums and Daryl Palumbo-isms that start a small fire in this realm of dreaminess. The aftermath of this climactic bridge leaves you feeling like you've been through a dream, but something just wasn't quite right. Maybe something got destroyed? Who knows? Dream over. You're awake now.
If you like any kind of music whatsoever, whether that be post-hardcore, pop, reggae, experimental or whatever the fuck, this should be an album you hear before you die. As I said before, it's a really good neopolitan icecream. Except this icecream has been spiked with rare, powerful hallucinogens and traces of heroin. It's a spooky, sexy trip that I can't do justice with words. So go listen and I'll give you a big kiss or something.