Published Sep 13, 2019Since their first full-length album release in 2015, the Glorious Sons have situated themselves firmly in the awkward but familiar space between adolescence and adulthood — and they continue to do so with their third full-length project, A War on Everything.
Nostalgia rings heavy through tracks like "Lean on Me Love," where frontman Brett Emmons recalls childhood memories. In "Spirit to Break," Emmons encourages introspection as one crosses the line into adulthood. "You say I love you / She says you're full of shit," he says, indirectly remarking on the head-on collision between youth and commitment.
War on Everything feels antsy, impermanent even. "One More Summer" explores, yet again, an inability to commit, romanticising a relationship that lasts only "one more summer," as opposed to a lifetime together. "Pink Motel" is impermanent even in its title — a motel isn't a place you can stay forever, and a pink motel is a place that seems imaginary.
Woven between these layers of impermanence are themes of mental illness; in "Kick Them Wicked Things," Emmons sings about the mental health medication he can't afford. Emotions are high, but the ability to cope is low.
Musically, the band are stronger than ever — the guitar, bass and keys throughout are played expertly — yet the Sons seem to be exploring stronger, Phil Collins-esque drum beats, accompanied by clap/stomp chanting that feels like a gimmick unsuited to rock'n'roll. "I'm on Your Side" leans into this too heavily.
A War on Everything is uncomfortably relatable, but also narratively juvenile. For a first-time listener, this album feels like a new fun friend you might meet in college — but for those who have been following the Sons from the start, A War on Everything has potential to feel repetitive and, eventually, a bit stale. (Black Box)