Glass Tiger – THIRTY THRƐƐ (EP Review)

Glass Tiger – THIRTY THRƐƐ (EP Review)

Formed in 1983, in Newmarket, Ontario, Glass Tiger was a major player in the ’80s heyday of New Wave music. It was one of Canada’s prime assets during the era, releasing three studio albums—1986’s The Thin Red Line, 1988’s Diamond Sun, and 1991’s Simple Mission—and producing the now classic peppy stomper “Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone)” and the soulful, heartrending ballad “Someday.”

Unfortunately nothing substantial had been heard of the Canadian Pop Rockers since their hiatus in 1993, apart from numerous reunions for live performances. That is why it was exciting to hear Glass Tiger would be releasing new music back in 2018. Putting out their album entitled 31, featuring eleven Glass Tiger hit songs reimagined with traditional acoustic instruments, as well as two new tracks, “Wae Yer Family” “Fire It Up,” it was especially a pleasant surprise to those who have never forgotten them even though they had gone for a very long time.

Now a little over a year later, Glass Tiger’s new output, albeit only an EP, is a reclaiming of the beloved Canadian band’s Pop Rock / New Wave sound. Released on May 17, 2019, through Willow Music, and simply titled THIRTY THRƐƐ, this time they offer six brand new songs. Opening with the haunting clockwork of “Ebb & Flow,” it ticks and pulsates with melodic nostalgia. Following next in subtle transition is “This Is Your Life,” which will surely excite the initiated with its heartrending melody and U2-inspired musicality, especially harking to those moments when Bono and the rest of the Irish rockers were in their melodramatic best.

The highlight of THIRTY THRƐƐ, “The Keepers of Time” is strategically located in the middle and it has the power to tug onto the heartstrings of the listener. Doing so both its positive lyrics and tear-pulling instrumentation; add to that, the ear-catching saxophone interlude that serves as the song’s carrier tune. Then with the ensuing “This Is London,” Glass Tiger lets loose and plays something basically Rock-n-Roll.

Later on “Show Me (How to Get Close to the Sun)” is another U2 allusion, apart from the usual silky and soulful vocal delivery, glowing and stomping its way onto the same Joshua Tree–laden American dream. Finally, Glass Tiger concludes their short yet delicious taster with the slow, piano-led ballad “Dying Is Easy (With You),” which begins in a somber mood. Building into a beautiful, string-orchestrated impassioned track with a brief, chilling narrative about dying. Stark. Dark. Yet inspiring.

Comprised of founding members Alan Frew (vocals, guitar), Sam Reid (keyboards), Al Connelly (guitar), and Wayne Parker (bass) with latest addition, Chris McNeill (drums), Glass Tiger has definitely come back with its fragile sensibility and newfound sheen, and THIRTY THRƐƐ is a stellar reflection of this return to better form. While hoping for the proper, full-length follow-up of all new music, bask in the glaze and glory in the meantime of Glass Tiger’s catchy and romantic new glasswork. That is why Cryptic Rock gives THIRTY THRƐƐ, 5 out of 5 stars.


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aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

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