Glad Version


Make Islands
Draw Fire Records

The opening moments of Make Islands find the Glad Version's lead singer Adam Svec in a shootout in the Old West. While a guitar wails in the background, both the protagonist and the female antagonist get shot, and the blood begins to flow. The rest of the album isn't nearly as blood-soaked, but it's packed with as much claustrophobia and uneasy despair. The Glad Version have evolved since their last offering, 2006's Lights Out North Star. That slippery, almost indescribable shift from "pretty good" to "pretty great" is evident just seconds into the new disc's opener, and the record only gets better from there.

"Ambulance," the album's Death Cab-ish second track, has a video to go along with it on YouTube that's just begging to go viral. As the record progresses, it's hard not to keep thinking about Death Cab just a little bit more. DCFC made this transformation back in 2003 with Transatlanticism. Could Make Islands be the album that allows the Glad Version to finally quit their day jobs?

Svec has found his stride as a songwriter here. He drops in details when needed, but mostly creates rough sketches, asking the listener to fill in the blanks, invest something in the songs, and inject a little bit of his or her own life experiences. Keep listening, and this album will be about you, too. Svec's had his heart broken. Someone did a number on him, and once upon a time someone did that to you, too. Press "play," crack a beer, and you both get to mull over what ails you.