The Glorias – Timeless Zone (CD)
A local band hauling from the Basel area but well known throughout Switzerland. Their first record was released in 1987 and here we are in 2021 with their 5th offering. You can find their complete discography on Discogs: https://www.discogs.com/artist/2447829-The-Glorias. The first two albums were LP releases only, while number 3 and 4 came onto the market as CDs only. The new one is a CD and LP release and if I’m not mistaken, the CD is limited to 300 copies while the LP has a mere 100 copies on the clock.
The band set out to play (more or less) Garage Rock, at a time, I have to add, when the genre wasn’t in very much high regard around here. The Basel area is, musically speaking, a strange beast. Blues and Bluesrock is almost non-existent (made by local bands, that is). Of course there are exceptions, but if you want to go for the aforementioned styles, you better search for your daily fix around the Zurich area. Likewise, if you’re into Rock’n’Roll or Rockabilly, you’re better off looking to our compatriots in the East.
But if Independent, Rap, Hip-Hop floats your boat, welcome to the hamlet called Basel. Even Jazz is hard ground for artists around here. And so it is for bands flying the flag of Garage Rock. And the Glorias have done so for the last 33 years. Five albums in all those years doesn’t sound like much, but they’ve been living on a shoe-string and privately pressing and distributing these records, they’ve not come to riches. Almost no band in Switzerland does, as a matter of fact. The exceptions like Yello, Krokus etc. are few and far between.
Garage Rock, in a way, is a genre to me, that’s as conclusive as Psych, Prog etc. I’m never buying records because of those styles but I have bought hundreds of these that are sitting nicely in my collection. The point is, with Prog, I get mostly goosebumps. Psych is the same, I’ve had discussions with Psych collectors who tried to explain what the genre really is and I either nodded off or came to the conclusion, that they didn’t know what they were talking about. A Psych expert who needs an hour to smokescreen a definition? Give me a break. In a way, I believe, the same happens with Garage Rock. Just too many views and opinions and three Garage Rock collectors come out with 15 different definitions.
That said, I have a pretty good idea, but the genre is a catch-all phrase and I listen to this kind of music because I like it, not because it’s this genre. So, take the following with a grain (or a spoonful) of salt. With my limited knowledge of Garage Rock, I tend to realize that the Glorias have come a long way from their origins. Traces of Garage are still there, but it seems the band has considerably branched out. The track „Timeless Zone“ sounds like a Raga. You could be meditating at the beach in Goa. O.k., with more than eight minutes, this is an unusual track anyway (at least for the Glorias). If I’m not completely mistaken, I hear even traces of Psych in the last song (that’s me, no idea and still twaddle like a know-it-all).
„Keep On Trying“ (and others) has a kind of 60’s feeling. A bit on the Kinks side, if you want to know. Garage? 60’s? Kinks? I believe I nailed this one. „Love Maniac“ is next: More between 60’s and 90’s. Traces of punk and the urgent feel of a song being shouted at the masses. Excellent guitar work. No idea who’s guitar this is, Bernie’s or Marco’s, not much else to choose from. „Give Me A Sign“ is up: A word about the quality of the recording, although these are essentially homestudio recorded tracks, the quality is excellent. However, I’ve only listened a few times to the CD on my office stereo, still have to drag this over to my main equipment. And believe me, normally there’s a difference between the two that you can immediately notice. The main one is much brighter, has a better bass foundation and an overall richer sound. This track is probably the most garagey of the lot. 70’s with gimmicks on guitar and a sound that would make Gary Moore cry (ca. „I Still Got The Blues“).
Track number 4 is called „Wolf“: Another thing about the music, I like it very much when the instruments are kept separated. Not a mash like some NWOBHM (sorry Bernie), this here is perfection to me. For the life of me, I can’t decide which direction this song takes. Traces of this and that but I’m not sure. The singer can wail „I Don’t Get The Blues“ until the cows come home, I haven’t got a clue. The next is a Medley consisting of three separate songs, namely "Living In The City“, "Jeanny" and "Rhythm Gets You“: Again, a bit of the 60’s and harder edged bands of the time. I’ve heard such production for the vocals before. Very well done. This is one to wear the colours of Garage Rock proudly.
„Mr Important Man“: I believe, we’re stuck in 1967/1968 as this sounds very much like those times. O.k., the guitar wouldn’t have been played as is, back in the day. This is more modern and 1992ish. „FFF“: The wider Pubrock scene comes to mind. Eddie & The Hot Rods“ and New Wave. „Red Hot“: Now, this is more New Wave than anything else. The Cure seem to have given a helping hand. Early Cure.
„Take The Money And Run“ is the next one: A touch of Dr. Feelgood and the Pubrock scene during the first half of the 70’s. Remarkable to realize, that all these songs are originals (not a single cover version). „Susie“ is the second to last on offer: Again, more in the Dr. Feelgood vein of things. Musically excellent and on top.
“Timeless Zone“ has already been mentioned at the beginning. See scan for tracklisting and line-up. I’ve seen Morten Garn (Bass) years ago in a Dr. Feelgood coverband. I still have recordings here. They were the deal (as far as coverbands go) and I enjoyed their live shows as well as the CDs. Morten has been a member of the Glorias for years and years. As for Bernie Rotzinger, he’s the owner of the Atlantis Record shop in Switzerland: www.atlantisrecords.ch or on Discogs, where he trades under the name rotzinger - you can order the Glorias CD directly from him (and, I believe, there are a few of the other items still available). Bernie ships abroad (Paypal, Cash, Direct Credit Card).
Btw, I don’t want to hide this, I’m a regular customer at the Atlantis Record shop but I don’t have a business interest there. I’ve made this review as a fan only.