25 July 2021 (released)
21 July 2021
“We are three totally ordinary people,” say Canada-based outfit Boy Breaking Glass, “who, when we get together to collaborate, work incredibly hard to get the details right.” The eight tracks presented on new album, Desolations, in their own words, “...examine the destructive impulse within all of us, our collective madness and the recognition of what we have forgotten about ourselves.” This is an international outfit. Lead singer and bassist Joe Mantell hails from England, guitarist/keyboardist Rob Leishman, from Canada and drummer Dimitar Karabov, Bulgaria.
From the start, Desolations is an album determined to live up to its name. On My Command buzzes with menace, rolling out on a tide of uneasy synths and martial drums. Mantell's bass circles and drives, providing an admirable bedrock alongside Karabov's versatile beats. The track evolves into a dark, Gothic piece, with edgy, jagged guitar from Leishman and a pounding, double-time rhythm. Follower, Destroyer, conjures up a skewed soundscape of fluttering strings and shuffling percussion. The band fill the space impressively, offering plenty of sonic depth and width.
King Of Mercy emerges from a bed of electronic burbles, coalescing into a harsh, metallic cloud through which Mantell's vocals call forth ice-clear and sharp. Lead-single Lacuna piles rock swagger on top of a John Carpenter-esque layer of synths. Guitar, bass and keyboards pulse and flow over Karabov's notably forceful and imaginative drumming. River Run flows indeed, as full of pathos and warning as the Styx. “I don't care if I live, I don't care if I die, it's all the same in the end,” sings Mantell.
With frenetic bass and off-kilter percussion, A Way To Remember stands out as a particular highlight; an emotionally affecting shard of post-punk pleasure. The track rises and swells over urgent undercurrents of synth. Some beautiful playing from Leishman cuts through the gathering clouds. He and Karabov conjure up a beautiful dynamic here. I Think, I Think throws up glaciers of shivering beauty. Once Was Soul closes the show, with skittering percussion dancing across deep slabs of keyboards, Mantell's bass signals Morse-code warnings and the band go out on a high.
Desolations is an album that strides forth with knowing nods to the hard-edged electronic rock of Gary Numan and the earnest drama of Sisters Of Mercy. What makes it stand out are the nuanced compositions and the wonderful playing. It's an emotional journey well worth taking.