Gliss - Langsom Dans (Modern Outsider)

Danish-American 'late night fucked-up art-pop' (as they so eloquently put it) trio, Gliss, ready their fourth full-length record for release January 22 – Langsom Dans. They got their big break years ago when Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins) took a shine to their debut EP, and has since then repeatedly asked them to support him on tours – they've gone to support Orson completely starkers, win accolades from Zane Lowe and toured with the likes of The Horrors and Glasvegas. They've had a pretty illustrious journey so far, and though they've supported a lot of high-ranking acts, they've never really escaped the bonds of 'opening artist'. Could Langsom Dans be the record to break that cycle?

Released Jan 31st, 2013 / By Larry Day
Gliss - Langsom Dans (Modern Outsider) Demonstrating the 'late night' portion of their self-imposed label is opener 'Blood On My Hands', a gliding veil of gothic pop that coasts by on toms, rimshots and an undercurrent of synth drones. It's jerky and slick, smothered in psych-fuzz guitars and hollow percussion that gradually escalates into a hazy, smoky beast. 'A To B' is almost similar, with Victoria Cecilia providing a ghostly wail that penetrates church bell synths and howls of distortion – their Depeche Mode inspirations shine through here, providing rich darkness with a twist of pop charm. At points, Langsom Dans revels in it's xx-esque delicacy, creating brittle shards of sound that dissolve as they reach your ears – at others, Wisonsin's operatic starlet Zola Jesus shines through. Things can get dramatic.

Gliss may give off a certain aura: they can be aloof, disconnected and seem to brazenly float through the music. But make no mistake, this isn't a record of pretensions; it's a record of love. Now, the lyrics might dictate otherwise – or they may not, untangling the words is an ordeal through the layers of effects and garbled drawling. Whichever's the case, Gliss have created music that sounds like the intense throes of passion and the sinister obsessions of love. It's not the kitschy poppery wearing hearts on sleeves, it's the kind of dangerous feelings that people who think 'Heart Shaped Box' is the most romantic song ever will love.

'Blur' a twirling whirlpool of Marla Singer compassion and dribbling 'oohs', the kind of heartwarming, pulse-racing delirium of blackout-drunk romance. Put most punly, it's a blur. 'Hunting' is home to post-dubstep clinks of pitched percussion, doomwave synths and the kind of airy-fairy synth-pop that Grimes would be proud of. It's one of the more accessible, pop-tinted cuts. 'Through The Mist' takes a turn for the strange – strange for Gliss, anyway – it skirts the fringes of '60s folk acts, bundling in muffled 808s and a hefty chunk of country-flecked guitar work. Put together, it does sound like Gliss – it's still sultry, dark and intense – but the components that make the track are entirely different.

The trio have written a delightful record of midnight charms here. Well, as delightful as doomwave and goth-pop can be. There's a wide range of vocal mastery on offer, the melodic guitar of post-rock and swooping synths all blanketed by hoards of post-production effects, and drowned in reverb. Gliss have a distorted sound, broken and gracious. It's got the concentrated threat in sustained sounds that have attached themselves to much lighter noises – it's fragile in a way that you wouldn't imagine fragility to sound. Whether this catapults them out of the support-act-cycle is another kettle of fish – Langsom Dans is a great record, and they should get the recognition they deserve for it; but they've put out great music before. It would be an injustice if they didn't get those juicy headline slots after this.