New Music Reviews: Faye Webster and Glass Beach

Two artists this week where I enjoyed their previous records, but I’m not quite so impressed by their most recent efforts. Atlanta’s Faye Webster plays a distinctive kind of country lounge, while Glass Beach are unclassifiable.

FAYE WEBSTER

Underdressed at the Symphony

2024, 7.5/10
Atlanta’s Faye Webster is notable for how young she started her career – she self-released 2013’s Run and Tell while still in her mid-teens. Webster has a unique sound figured out, a kind of country lounge. Classy horns and slick cocktail jazz piano are coupled with country touches like pedal steel.

It’s maybe not a big step forward after 2021’s impressive I Know I’m Funny Ha Ha. It’s largely more of the same, but not a problem given Webster’s unique sound palette.

But it feels weaker than its predecessor. Despite the sparkling pedal steel, the opener ‘Thinking About You’ overstays its welcome. Webster ventures into hip-hop, collaborating with ra[[er Lil Yachty on ‘Lego Ring’. It may seem like an incongruous pairing, yet they’ve been friends since middle school. The title track is charming with its sudden orchestral interlude. ‘But Not Kiss’ is also a standout, with its dramatic piano lines, more intense than usual for Webster.

Webster sometimes feels lightweight, but her distinctive sound is charming.


Glass Beach

Plastic Death

2024, 7.5/10
Los Angeles band Glass Beach had a charming debut. They ignored genre boundaries and changed gears abruptly multiple times during a single song. In some ways, it’s like a modern spin on progressive rock. Even though the songs are succinct, there are unpredictable time signatures and tempo shifts. It jumps from beautiful to abrasive at the flick of a switch. The band dips into jazz, and sometimes sounds similar to the ambience of 21st-century Radiohead or the convoluted aggression of the Cardiacs.

Their second album isn’t as dazzling as their first. It doesn’t feel as fresh and exciting, and sometimes Classic J’s vocals don’t quite do justice to the complex music. But it’s often impressive anyway, breaking new ground for the band.

It’s eclectic – the brief ‘Guitar Song’ sounds surprisingly like Mark Kozelek. The almost ten minutes of ‘Commatose’ has a brutal section in the middle, but other parts recall the gentle majesty of 1970s Pink Floyd. Sometimes the strongest tracks are punchy and hooky, like the energetic ‘Cul-De-Sac’.

Glass Beach are always technically impressive, but I don’t find this record as invigorating as their first.

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7 Comments

  1. Both Faye Webster and Glass Beach are entirely new to me. Based of my very first impression after sampling a couple of tracks from each album, Webster’s music speaks more to me. That said, I realize Glass Beach is more complex, and I could see them as acquired taste.

    • Yeah, Glass Beach need a bit of effort. I can see why some critics don’t like complex music, while some teenagers love it. You need time amd effort to absorbance appreciate it, and it’s hard when you’re an adult with other responsibilities.

  2. Faye Webster…I love that piano sound…it sounds like a toy piano. Also that guitar…I looked it up…it’s a Harmony Stratotone Jupiter. I’ve never seen one before. I would love to have that. I froze the video countless times to read the headstock.
    She has a different sound…I like it.

    • Cool, I’ve been trying to get into Atlanta Millionaires Club, I didn’t pick up on it at the time.

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