Gland starts on solid footing with debut album ‘Neurotica’

Gland+starts+on+solid+footing+with+debut+album+%27Neurotica%27

Ben Shooter, Associate Arcade Editor

On its debut release, “Neurotica,” New Orleans band Gland makes an attempt to capture the frantic, edgy, and unapologetic live sound that has helped to cultivate its fast-growing local following. Anyone who has seen Gland live knows that what it lacks in tightness and musical sophistication, it more than makes up for with its catchy hooks and classic-feeling punk mystique. Neuroticas first track Bee Keeper, is an instant reminder of how powerful Gland can be at its best. Guitarist and vocalist Kallie Van Tassel builds an anthemic (perhaps even timeless) melody over dense surf-rock power chords as swirling, magical-sounding synths ensure that the song stays the best kind of weird.

Bitch Mania and Brim Stoner, give names to some live favorites. Bassist Farra Mones shines on both tracks, creating a brooding, ’80s goth vibe on Bitch Mania and supplying the enormous, driving tone that makes Brim Stoner perfect to mosh to.  

Cram It, was released on its own in advance of the album, and in the context of the album is still a standout track. The songs two-chord riff has been around in punk rock since The Ramones, but the songs vocal harmonies on Im not trying anymore, and the sneer of the refrain I called to say Im always fucking right, breathe new life into it.  

“Neurotica” does seem to have some moments where the band tries a little too hard to appear edgy, exemplified by Drugs and Fuck Cops.” Drugs is saved by another catchy hook, I just want to do drugs with my girls, but Fuck Cops is weakened by its indecipherability.  

The last track on the album, Safe Space, is another gem featuring guest vocals from Baaba Blacksheep. If theres one live track the album doesnt quite do justice, however, its this one — not because the recording is bad per se, but because theres just no way to replicate Baaba getting up in your face at a show and screaming the words. The song starts slow and heavy, with Blacksheep singing over a foreboding drum beat executed by Jean Trapezoid, but switches gears halfway through, ending with rapid, chaotic punk, just the way Gland likes it.  

Overall, “Neurotica” is a solid debut album for the band that establishes its unique blend of surf-rock, punk and metal, maintains the energy of its live performances and backs up the eccentric image and style the band has created for itself.