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The Mass Media

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February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

The Glow Shines On Debut

The Glow Shines On Debut

BY CHARLES J. DOHERTYContributing Writer

Hailing from Quincy, MA, The Glow is an energetic, punk-influenced rock and roll quartet. They released their debut CD The Ghosts Are Out on the independent Brooklyn-based Bankshot! Records label at the end of March, and played a sold-out show at the Middle East just prior to its release. They are led by Ben Kettleson on vocals/organ/piano/harmonica, Josh “Soy Boy” Smith on guitar/backup vocals, Chris “Scoops” Ayer on bass, and Kelzo (aka: Mike Kelly) on drums/percussion. One Bankshot! representative said upon signing them last year that they are “one of the best [expletive deleted] bands we’ve ever signed, period.” And with that, the band came up with a 12-track CD- recorded at the famed New Alliance studio and produced by David Age-that is solid from start to finish and is over before you know it.

With the organ as the featured instrument, The Glow’s sound is unique in modern rock (especially in the local scene), yet familiar enough to trace various influences. Think of Elvis Costello, with a raspier voice and a penchant for soulful vocals, or of Rancid, without the loud guitars. Many of these songs have catchy rhythms your girlfriend is bound to get up and dance to. Take album opener “Last Night,” for example. It starts out with some killer bass lines played over a stomping drum rhythm, then changes to familiar ’60s pop style drum beats in time for the chorus (think “Aneurysm” by Nirvana if you don’t go that far back). What’s ironic about the record is that these upbeat, sunny songs, some of which have elements of doo-wop, are contrasted with emotional lyrics of regret, tragedy, fury, and self reflection, as well as other themes to which the average Joe can relate. And though Ben’s unique vocal style is a bit hard to make out at times, you will no doubt understand the passion he brings to each and every song.

Josh and Ben know their major and minor chords well, and the many chord and tempo changes within these well-arranged songs are what make them as lively as they are. But the driving force that keeps the record going strong is the rhythm section. Kelzo and Scoops lay down plenty of pulsating rhythms that match Kettleson’s vocal intensity on every song. The punk overtones and speedy rhythmic shifts you will hear on this record are definitely influenced by the band members’ time spent in high school punk and hardcore bands. And all the elements that characterize this album can be heard on “Cartoon Beach,” which starts with Josh’s punk-influenced riffs and ends with some gorgeous vocal harmonies sung over a fast, continuous rhythm. Elsewhere on the CD, local jazz saxophonist Jon De Lucia appears on the track “I Scare Myself,” which is a hybrid of punk’s muscle and the energy of ’50s rock, complete with Ben’s pumping piano playing, hand claps, and tambourine shakes.

Overall, the pace of The Ghosts Are Out is nearly perfect-it’s a bouncy set of tracks, featuring only a couple of scattered slower tunes that never take the momentum away from the album. In fact, the last and quietest track, “I’m Never Ready,” has just a guitar, harmonica, and heavy organ sound to accompany Ben’s softest singing on the record; an appropriate way to end a rock-solid first record.

For info on this band, go to: www.theglow.com or http://myspace.com/theglowboston.