Tuesday, May 22


Another elliptical/spiral guitar figure at the heart of "Glass". I've noticed before that this type of riff (for lack of a better word) is somewhat of a signature style, but I didn't quite realize how often he draws upon it. With this song, as with much of The Egyptians catalog, Robyn counters the calliope guitar work with a high, soft keyboard line of tinkling bells. This is in stark contrast to The Soft Boys, where he and Kimberly Rew would play off of and amplify the main guitar riff with more guitar, often in close harmonics.

Evoking a calliope, whether conscious or not, has certain connotations. Myself, I've always associated that sound - the falling and rising notes that repeat without connecting the circle - with the circus. Within the context of the Soft Boys, the dual guitar playing off the elliptical base invites madness; an aural equivalent to the frightening effect of clowns on many children. Here it isn't madness (the trebly bells soften that feeling) but it does keep the listener slightly off-kilter to the songs benefit. Hitchcock plays on it in the lyrics, evoking the edge, the slight danger, in the third verse:

Glass protects you but glass can shatter
Hear the sirens, hear the screams

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