The first single by Glass Beach, “classic j dies and goes to hell part 1” is as dense, sprawling and emotionally overwrought as its title. It might also be a work of genius.
Masterminded by singer/guitarist/writer/producer J McLendan, the new track opens the first Glass Beach album, aptly titled the first glass beach album. Self-released in May, but in the works since 2015, the album is set for a full release next January through emo powerhouse Run For Cover Records, home of Turnover and Camp Cope.
Glass Beach have no interest in being pigeonholed by genre, and their debut is littered with ambient massages, math rock freakouts and anthemic arena-ready choruses. Imagine 100 gecs making a The 1975 album, and you’re in the right ballpark. Just probably playing the wrong sport.
“classic j dies and goes to hell part 1” is a perfect microcosm of the album, veering from its Disney-indebted intro to jazzy yacht rock, a brass breakdown and a punk-as-fuck hardcore-cum-polka coda. The track finds McLendan ruminating on the perseverance required to make it through your early 20s. Racked with sleepless anxiety over dead-end jobs, meaningless friendships, and shitty rented accommodation where all you can do is “knock some holes into the walls to make it feel more like a home”.
The fog clears only when McLendan remembers that one other person who can help, begging them to “take my hand, I can’t do this alone”, before rousing “na-na-na”s send the track into orbit. Or the abyss.