A stagnant progression
It’s weird knowing that The Glitch Mob have been on the scene for the entirety of the 2010s. It seems like yesterday that the trio comprised of edIT (Edward Ma), Boreta (Justin Boreta) and Ooah (Josh Mayer) was on the cusp of taking their music to a brand new audience after taking over the West Coast by storm. The trio even appeared on the Tron: Legacy remix album in 2009, whose soundtrack was originally composed by Daft Punk. The following year, the group’s debut, Drink the Sea, was released and was exciting, fun, adrenaline-pumping and, while a bit long, offered a unique take to glitch hop that seemed fresh.
While their 2014 sophomore effort, Love Death Immortality, may not have lived up to the hype that their debut did, or was as musically challenging as their last album, it was still a relatively entertaining album meant to be blasted at parties and get people fired up for the night that was bound to come. In the four years between that album and their newest album, there was hope for a return to form that was present in their debut album. See Without Eyes, however, offers an odd combination of better production as a whole that grows monotonous as the album goes on.
In the album’s 50-minute runtime, the three Los Angeles based producers don’t go outside of the box with their production, which results in most of the album slowly blending in, making it hard to pinpoint any deviation or unique quality as the album goes on. A lack of deviation leads to every glitch in this album being heard from a mile away, and being able to predict what direction a glitch hop song takes isn’t the best thing for a glitch hop song to have.
However, one upside that this album has that Love Death Immortality lacks is the fact the production is not oversaturated with obnoxious instrumentation that results in a “brostep” album. This album is a much-needed return to maturity that was lacking in the previous album, being much less grating and off-putting overall. However, the album’s more subdued production turned out to be a double-edged sword by dragging the album down to nothing more than a lengthy lull.
While the first two tracks, “Enter Formless” and “Take Me With You” don’t stand out from the rest of the crowd and offer basic loops and nominal changes to the songs’ progressions at predictable moments, “Disintegrating Slowly” shows heavy promise, with some concepts that could be further fleshed out to produce something more daring and bold. However, the track fails to capitalize on its potential and comes off as flavorless and uninspired before transitioning into a slow and brooding track in “Keep on Breathing.” This track includes vocals meant to come off as chilling or haunting, but when it’s been done so many times by so many artists in such a short period of time, the luster of it disappears.
These two tracks encompass the album’s overall weakness and why Glitch Mob didn’t deliver another Drink the Sea: a failure to capitalize on what put them on the map by not deviating and producing good music. This album tends to follow the trends set out rather than follow whatever their heart tells them to do. The constant need to check off the same boxes when producing albums in recent days will hurt the scene in the long run if artists continue to follow industry trends. Glitch Mob can (and should) break from the norm with every release they put out, but following the trails will hurt them more in the long run.