I don't know what makes me the most melancholic, the songs or the songwriter. Brendan Glasson has got such a, ouch, sensitivity that you wonder how such treasures have managed to find their way to your ears without disappearing into the ether. To the point I could become almost believe in the existence of careful divinity somewhere above.
But no, from small links, to fragile faith, from shared feelings to just hazard and chance, his songs, like small boats on a stormy ocean have finally come alongside this side of my digital computer speakers and are now part of my most cherished music selection forever.
Is it an artwork for this album, a label, or is it too much to ask? I don't care of what people could say, here, in front of my word processor, I feel proud, I feel good, pretending, Brendan Glasson will be as precious this year, for me and for others as well, as Elliott Smith was fifteen years ago.
Except, I do believe he is more special, more underground, less easy to find, so far, less easy to approach. In fact, like the best and most disarming Elliott Smith album was in fact an obscure record written by someone else, aka "Orchard Street Sounds" by Minnetonka, it is too disarming and extremely moving to feel how much Vio/Miré is self- or just in-consciously preserving the treasures he writes and record, releasing CDRs or existing through mp3s shared or playing in living room instead of venues.
One minute inside the long and final "Worth Retelling" and the whole chillwave scene of these days seems useless and failing about what music should always been about, the unsaid, the suggested, the depth, the frustration, the little things from which grace finally arises.
Musically, Brendan Glasson sounds like he could be the cousin or the nephew of Mike talons' Talon and I'm sure Trouble Books would be glad to adopt him as one more contributor of their family.
I think I should write this review with tears and say nothing. Oh well, I can't explain, I feel totally empty listening to "January 2009". It is one of these very few and rare records, you can say about "it's different", not groundbreaking or utterly impressive, but you'll just admit to yourself you'll want to spend some time alone with this record, for the simple, and maybe somewhat selfish, pleasure of being sad and melancholic. But don't think it is a totally depressive album, instead, it is mostly joyful, the way Julie Doiron can be playful. In fact he could be the cousin or nephew of Julie Doiron too.
And "January 2009" doesn't sound like a lost backward-looking bedroom folk/pop album reminiscent of this forgotten lo-fi scene of the nineties, because, in fact, if most of his songwriting is indeed somewhat traditionally & intimately indie, you've got these subtle touches telling you, he is up to date with the most interesting part of the ambient scene of these days, and it wouldn't be a surprise to get a full ambient instrumental record coming from him some day. An instrumental song like "Writing in the dark" seems neglectfully forgotten between two others and it takes a few times listening to the full album before noticing how much this is totally unbelievable, hitting the same string Federico Durand struck with "Mi Pequeño Mundo De Papel".
Honestly, how can someone survive when "Shrinking Coasts" and "Appleseeds" are playing just one after the other. Two gems, two hits, two songs that make you put knees on the ground and listen religiously, humming to the melody, even when you thought such melodies were so passé, these days. You were wrong.
Recorded in Reykjavik at a friend's home studio (Alex Somers, from Parachutes and Jónsi & Alex) which is honestly probably the best environment for such a record, "January 2009" is for every second, from the first one to the last one, the very own production of Brendan Glasson. It is so shivering, beyond reasons.
One of the more comforting records I've heard recently to be honest.