Glen Iris' off-kilter dynamic colors new 7-inch 

From messy, lo-fi grooves to subdued melodies, the Atlanta trio experiments with sound

Former Rock*A*Teens guitarist Justin Hughes doesn’t have much to say about the two songs on Glen Iris’ debut 7-inch slated for release on July 17 via the group’s recently invented Dirty Slacks imprint. “I don’t really like talking about myself,” he offers humbly. “That’s the music journalist’s job. Songs just kind of come to me when I’m playing around with a guitar and whatever they mean to you is whatever they mean.”

That sort of open-to-interpretation attitude behooves the two-guitar and drums trio rounded out by Brass Castle guitarist and vocalist Chris Strawn, and drummer Jonathan Luecke. Both Strawn and Hughes bring songs to the band and the resulting tug-of-war between their distinct voices culminates in an eclectic mix of divergent numbers. Strawn’s low guitar sounds fill in for the bass while Luecke’s percussive sway works double-time to keep the rhythms moving.

The difference between the two songs on their first single illustrates their off-kilter dynamic. On the A-side, “Horseless,” penned by Strawn, is a lo-fi mess of groove-driven riffs. The drums sputter and pound with a visceral gnash that bares a genetic likeness to his songwriting in Brass Castle. But here the elements of deranged and drunken fury are tempered with earnest, pop-oriented hooks and a reactionary bellow.

The Hughes-penned B-side, “Big Hatchet,” is a subdued number where the soft sound of nylon strings strummed over melancholy melodies flitters with a dilapidated warble. The record draws strength from its sundry differences leaving the listener curious as to where Glen Iris will go next. “We’re still a new band and we’re actually looking for a bass player,” Hughes says. But Strawn adds that it has to be the right person. “We’ll take our time and let it happen on its own. I don’t know when that will be, but that’s the plan.”

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