The title track of The Glorious Sons’ latest LP “A War on Everything” is a “Born to Run”-style plea for escape from a guy who believes that life would be better if he and his girl skipped town immediately. Damn the phone, damn the weather, damn the lies. He’s not concerned with anything but himself, her happiness, and a possessionless future that promises to be brighter simply because they’re together.
While the “me and you against the world” yarn has been spun countless times before, vocalist Brett Emmons makes it stick with a die-tomorrow delivery that can’t be contained. We’re hooked from the start and can easily envision a scenario in which he’s singing about a real person as opposed to just channeling a character. It’s also not a stretch to picture these star-crossed lovers craving a fresh start after losing their car, their jobs, or anything other item trotted out by the band on 2017’s zeitgeist-capturing “S.O.S. (Sawed Off Shotgun),” so, if innocuous nostalgia is what you seek, I believe that there’s a new Maroon 5 single dropping this week that might be more your speed.
Leave it to some guys from Canada to capture the rage and disillusionment so many Americans have been experiencing since the economy took a gargantuan, Lehman Brothers-induced shit back in 2008. People deserve rock music that is capable of addressing the sociological elephants in the room without coming off as patronizing, and, in Emmons, they’ve found a voice whose force is surpassed only by its innate relatability. He might as well be speaking for all of us when he wails “I’m tired, I’m sick, I’m waging war on everything” during “Panic Attack,” the album’s lead-off shot that sets the tone for what the remaining 13 tracks will bring to the table.
“Spirit to Break” and “Closer to the Sky” delve further into the muck, as the rest of the band strikes just the right balance between tender melody and the scrappy, live-off-the-floor surge they’re known for. The looseness with which guitarists Jay Emmons and Chris Koster attack their instruments reflects the reality of the lyrics perfectly, because this material wouldn’t resonate the same way with a slick 1980s production value. Life is messy, and, to be honest, I think we’ve reached a point in 2019 where escapism just doesn’t cut it anymore, so the door is ajar for the Sons to tackle modern generational angst with an honesty seldom appreciated by the mainstream rock scene this millennium.
Other highlights include “Wild Eyes,” “The Ongoing Speculation Into the Death of Rock and Roll,” and “Pink Motel,” the last of which finds Emmons lamenting a failed relationship with a Zevon-esque causticity that puts the finishing touch on what is one of the finest albums I’ve heard this year.
Chris Cornell once said that music driven by money deserves to fail, so it’s a good thing, then, that The Glorious Sons appear motivated by the desire to make sense of this fucked up world through art that is raw, open, and uncompromising. A lot has been written about how Greta Van Fleet is bringing rock back from extinction, but the contributions from Kingston, Ontario’s latest powerhouse can’t be denied.
“A War on Everything” is available now wherever music in disseminated, but do us all a favor and pay for a physical copy.