Matt Lande is no newcomer to the music scene.
Raised in Florida, Lande got his first opportunity to escape small town America playing guitar for StorySide: B, a Christian rock outfit that opened for the likes of Paramore before disbanding in the late aughts. He followed up StorySide:B with a brief acting stint that included guest spots on Grimm and Portlandia, but soon returned to music, his first love.
Glow is Lande’s sophomore full-length album, and it sees him try to delve into more introspective territory without abandoning what he calls his “frighteningly goofy” side.
The album wastes no time kicking into gear. The opening song and title track immediately shows off Lande’s soulful voice and his penchant for incorporating off-kilter elements into otherwise straightforward songs. The tried and tested 90s alt-rock soft-loud-soft-loud structure builds up the tension before the song blows up into an incredibly soaring chorus.
Luckily, Lande abandoned his Christian rock inclinations when he embarked on his eponymous solo project. The lyrics on Glow, though often uplifting, don’t have any discernible religious undertones.
To be fair, the music is strong enough to stand on its own. But I still get the feeling I wouldn’t be enjoying this as much if it had a religious element thrown in.
Glow is replete with catchy hooks and clever songwriting tricks. Echo, has the potential to become a sure-fire rock radio hit, whilst Nowhere That We Know leads off with a dark organ intro before taking a left-turn into unexpectedly uplifting territory.
There’s more seething below the surface than just vanilla rock, however. I can hear a distinctly heavier undertone in songs like Together and Spin, and it works very well with Lande’s angelic voice. Unfortunately, it sounds like Lande’s actively making an effort to restrain himself from going all out, which is a pity.
Glow is a strong offering, and one that cements Matt Lande as a force to be reckoned with. That said, I’m rooting for the music to get heavier next time round.