When Buddy Glass announced that he would be releasing his second album this year, the mere news of this record’s arrival helped to strengthen the Australian music industry just a little bit more.
Glass’ story is well-known to most by now, but for newcomers, he might be better known as Bruno Brayovic, frontman of Sydney rock outfit Peabody. A staple of the Australian indie scene for more than 25 years, Glass’ other musical moniker first reared its head earlier last decade, when 2014 brought with it his self-titled solo debut.
Though he was already known for his acclaimed musical chops via his work with Peabody, Brayovic’s Buddy Glass project helped to shine a light on his raw talent, with his songwriting taking centre stage and proving his worth as one of the most underrated artists on the local scene.
Fast-forward six years, and Glass has proven that his first solo affair was far from a fluke, with the exceptional Wow & Flutter arriving in September. Recorded on a TASCAM 4-track cassette recorder in the back room of his Marrickville house, the eight-track album is an alluring creation, filled with varying styles and shifting approaches, and serves as a testament to the brilliant happenings that occur within his musical mind.
“Promised Shoreline” kicks off the record, with the deft acoustic number evoking memories of indie-folk greats such as Eric Bachmann (of Crooked Fingers or Archers of Loaf fame), or the reclusive Neutral Milk Hotel frontman Jeff Mangum.
Not content to create music which could solely be compared to the works of others Glass soon shifts gears, with his lyrical storytelling undoubtedly reaching new heights as he offers up the following track, “The Spirit of A Small Town”, which recalls – in his own words – “dark goings-on of my mother’s family and her birthplace in the south of Chile”.
Though it feels as though the record has found its groove by this point, Glass proves he’s not one to stand still musically, with the likes of “The Bird” and “Wasted Habit” showing opposite sides of the stylistic spectrum. Switching from a droning, atmospheric number to a forceful single which sees its creator stretching his voice to its limit, it almost feels as though anything added to the top of this already-accomplished musical journey would be unnecessary.
Thankfully Glass goes above and beyond, as he shows he’s far from done. Enlisting the vocal talents of Rhiannon Back for “If You Sail Out”, the record shifts again with each and every track, going from the heartfelt lament that is “No One Can Tell You That You’re Wrong”, to the slick “Yuppie, Junkie, Athlete”, before wrapping up with the ’60s-influenced folk-drone of “The Only”.
As the final notes of its closing track slowly fade out, the full weight of the record becomes clear to the listener, with its exceptional songwriting and alluring performance styles warranting not only a repeat listen of its highlights (you can’t listen to “Wasted Habit” just one time), but the entire album in an effort to recapture that stunning moment where you experience something such as this for the first time.
Wow & Flutter isn’t a record to venture into if you’re expecting a singular thread to tie each of its eight tracks together. Rather, it’s a shifting, almost kaleidoscopic showcase of Glass’ talent and musicianship, and deserves to be remembered as not just one of the year’s best records, but one of the finest collections to come out of Australia in recent times.
Buddy Glass’ Wow & Flutter is out now, with physical copies available via Bandcamp.