Glyn Bailey has always loved storytelling and well-crafted lyrics. His earliest musical memory is hearing Frank Sinatra being played on his family’s stereogram. The creative process was further inspired by the gift of a reel-to-reel tape recorder on his tenth birthday. He is now ready to amaze with his sixth album Testament.
This album has been five years in the making and is packed with songs that only existed in demo form. Along with Glyn Bailey on vocals and guitar, the album features Philip Maxwell Senior (guitar, bass, arrangements) and a cast of talented musical friends. If there is an overall theme to the album, it might be pending mortality that hangs over all of us.
The first track is ‘Jacques in the City’ and has a very 1950s French vibe to it before heading to a bit more classic disco. This links with the lyrics of the track which is a journey through the boulevards and bright lights of Paris. The disco vibe of the track makes you want to dance and it is a great introduction to the album.
‘The Light’ is a softer track full of grand piano flourishes and choral harmonies. Bailey’s vocal performance is more anchored in this song giving it a deeper feeling. This pushes the lyrics of the track which are a reflection on mortality and the impact our lives have on others. While this could be a very depressing track, there is a lightness to it that helps it avoid being too dark.
‘Serenity’ takes another melodic turn with wonderful soft horn lines and gentle acoustic guitars. This song searches for serenity is a gentle and warm way. It is a very easy song to listen to and it reminds you of a warm summer day full of peace and relaxation.
‘Eyes’ hits you with some great chords from the start giving this song an almost eerie feeling. The slow pace adds to this while the lyrics make you really think about whether we can love another if we do not love ourselves. The vocals on this track are both powerful and understated undulating to the melody.
‘Muse’s Rules’ is a riddle in song form. This song has a church organ driving the melody with a choir laying out the riddle. There is a forward march in this track that is easier to listen to than you might imagine. The lyrics of the song are a paradox full of contradictions.
The next track is ‘Marswalkers’ which is a strange title, but makes more sense when you listen to the lyrics of the song. This track is full of hope and pride in the achievements of humanity. There is a hopefulness to this song that is something that a lot of people need right now. The melody and vocal performance are booming and almost anthemic.
‘Where’ is the next song and is a nostalgic acoustic track. It has a very old folk song vibe to it as it talks about walking through the landscape of Albion hand in hand. It is a haunting track that really hits you while clearly painting the scene. You can easily see everything described in the song which makes it easy to connect with.
‘Spark’ hooks you with some horns before you are led into the song by the piano. While the instruments grab your attention, the vocals and lyrics are as captivating. This is another song with a hopeful message in it. Through the fun and light-hearted melody and lyrics, you feel that you can do something positive in the world.
‘A Good Singer and a Good Song’ has a great build-up with tinkling notes and deep tones. Bailey’s vocals enter like another instrument to perfectly add another layer to the track. The slow and meandering melody of the song gives you time to digest the lyrics.
‘A Moment’ is the last song on the album and leaves you with a smile. The opening line makes it perfect for ending any album. The steady tempo of the song highlights Bailey’s vocals and lets you celebrate the perfect moments in life when enjoyment is not exceeded by expectations.
Glyn Bailey packs humour, serenity, hope and slightly morbid reflections into Testament to create an engaging album. Each song is unique, but they work together in a compilation that makes you pause and think.