by Tom Alexander (@___alexd)
Freezing Cold’s debut album, Glimmer, sounds like a lot of things: muscular art-rock, power-house emo, refined post-punk, and even mid-90’s alternative rock. One thing the album doesn’t sound like, however, is a debut. Glimmer comes to us confident, slick, and perfectly realized; the trio’s chemistry could not be more complementary. Maybe that chemistry is just a stroke of pure luck. Perhaps this chemistry comes from the Freezing Cold’s members’ collective history, as three friends working away in separate bands in the NYC DIY scene before coming together in 2017. Or maybe Glimmer is so good because of the band’s tireless work ethic and attention to detail. My guess is that it’s a combination of all of these things, but you don’t have to take my word for it -- you can stream Glimmer here today before its official release on 9/27.
Bold, but not overtly aggressive, Freezing Cold’s music feels like it was chipped out of granite slabs. The powerful rhythm section (Angie Boylan on drums, Nick Rice on bass) is the perfect strong underline to the vocal melodies and guitar (Jeff Cunningham). J. Robbins (of Jawbox) served as producer here, and his influence (or his discography’s influence) can be felt throughout Glimmer. These songs hit the listener in waves, groove after tremendous groove, but Freezing Cold’s relationship with the listener is never adversarial. For as powerful as these songs sound, listeners are invited to come along for the ride, participating alongside with these carefully-observed stories. Even just take the first track and early single, “New Ways to Wait”, for example. The song opens and within seconds, Cunningham’s voice launches into the first verse. There’s not a wasted moment or breath here. Glimmer is assertive, but not aggressive; it’s headstrong but not reckless.
Freezing Cold’s willingness to have the listener become an active member of Glimmer keeps the album warm and compassionate, but it also raises the stakes. There’s rarely an instance of the third-person perspective here; the band instead opts to keep the relationships between you and them, at times directly referencing “you” and “I”. The “you” here, is sometimes a specific person, but often, it’s a stand-in for you the listener, like in “Hand Wringing Hands,” where Cunningham describes how the perspectives of your life changes from moment to moment. If that all sounds heady and philosophical, don’t sweat it because Freezing Cold has the melody-forward songwriting to keep Glimmer engaging, adventurous, and incredibly (dare I say it) fun. Go on, listen to “Parentheses” or “Pill Box” and try to get those melodies unstuck from your head. This impeccable balance, between catharsis and enjoyment, soul-searching and rousing choruses, make Glimmer a must-listen.