Glowbug mesmerizes with ‘Fantasma Del Tropico’

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 at 7:05 PM
Glowbug mesmerizes with ‘Fantasma Del Tropico’ by Britton Rozzelle

Since 2010, Daniel Anderson has been working on a series of albums under the moniker Glowbug, starting with vocal-less tracks that covered that niche for smart electronic music. Now, since the release of “Suit of Swords” (2012), Glowbug has been covering a very specific area of the music industry — emotionally written, tropical-sounding songs about death and dying.

It works quite well.

“Fantasma Del Tropico” feels like a direct continuation of Anderson’s last release, “Headhunters,” a very high energy, almost experimental electronic/rock fusion with jazz influences, highlighting very upbeat samples and tropical soundfonts that really help this project stand out from contemporary electronic artists of this era. This link is certainly not a bad thing, as it seems the direction Anderson wants to take with this project is much more clear — making “Fantasma” an album full of surprises, guest vocalists and distinctly positive vibes.

The record starts with “Brand New Bad News,” a dreamy and eclectic electric introduction to this world Anderson has crafted. His tenor vocals soar over an appropriately positive backdrop of horns, bass and drums, pushing the track into the upper echelon of his compositions thus far and leading, almost perfectly, into “Akrasia.” This cut features Evan Konrad (also known as Bed of Stars), and is an emotionally charged and strong track that effectively highlights the guest vocalist. It’s definitely one of the standouts on the album, and one to especially take note of at the end of the day.

“Live from Hell,” featuring Eddie Hermida of Suicide Silence, embodies Anderson’s previous band, Idiot Pilot, and both lyrically and musically feels like something that could have been a highlight of their much asked about, but never released, third album. Skirting a line between mid 2000s-era screamo and 80s-inspired nu-wave, “Live from Hell” is an especially fun song — something this album certainly doesn’t lack with other tracks like “Young Bat” and “Cut You Up” being especially good.

“Lord of the Flies” (my favorite song on the album) and “All I Think About” (featuring Lourdes Hernandez, a frequent collaborator), are much more reserved, “Suit of Swords” style tracks, embracing a more somber and sobering series of beats and production techniques. They’re the ones you play at the end of the party, the ones to ride down a coastal highway to, and therein have a great contrast with the other, more high energy tracks on the album.

With, “Fantasma Del Tropico,” Anderson proves he’s a master of blending wholly different themes into an almost magical medley for each song. There are parts that, when looked at individually, may not work by themselves, but when grouped together and masterfully placed on the tracks, it creates something special — and that’s exactly what this album is.

Standout songs: “Live From Hell,” “Lord of the Flies” & “Doomsday.”

Britton Rozzelle is the executive editor for The Spectator. Spectator Music can be reached at musics.spectator@gmail.com.

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