Gloo’s 2018 debut album A Pathetic Youth made far more than a splash upon its release, it catalyzed a tidal wave. It is a welcome rarity, yet a rarity no less, for a band’s inaugural album to be so impactful and polished, yet that was precisely what the Littlehampton-based trio delivered. When a band starts off that strong, it’s natural for listeners to wonder not only what is coming next, but if it can live up to or top the work that hallmarked the strong start for the band’s career. In the case of Gloo, that answer was a resounding yes. With their new EP Stop and Stare, their tidal wave grew into a full-throttle tsunami. If A Pathetic Youth proved that Gloo harnesses insatiable sonic power, then Stop and Stare illustrates that they’re more than capable of maintaining and expanding upon it.
Stop and Stare is a riot act in the auditory form. It sounds like liberation; it sounds like the last day of school, quitting a horrible job, and a wild night spent in good company all at once. This, of course, is because each and every track within the EP contains a voracious energy that is simultaneously coupled with clear musical skill. They contain an electric rawness that can only be described as addictive, yet the efforts that propelled the tracks’ composition (from anthemic choruses, snarling guitar licks, and thrashing drum fills) not only indicates a devotion to musical mastery, but an ability to execute it flawlessly. It’s all too often that the desire to make a work sonically enjoyable outweighs the craftsmanship that went behind bringing each track to fruition, but Stop and Stare is proof positive that Gloo is able to create a seamless elixir in which both elements maintain a harmonious balance.
The track ‘I’m Not Gonna Change’ is a wonderful example of this. Lyrically, its display of defiance in the name of independence is invigorating and refreshing alike. In a time period in which rapping about designer brands, women, and luxury cars dominates mainstream culture, ‘I’m Not Gonna Change’ serves as a welcome reminder that individualism and nonconformity always make for more interesting lyrical content. The track’s rhythmic nature surges it with a powerful electrical undercurrent, and its punctuation by way of distortion gives it an intoxicating biting sensation that is ever present in any and every notable rock song. ‘I’m Not Gonna Change’ feels as if it’s teetering on the edge of control while simultaneously maintaining it, and that’s where the magic lies.
Stop and Stare contains all the key components that remind lovers of rock music why they love it so much. The lyrics are unfiltered and honest, all while maintaining the sense of self that has made the genre timelessly empowering. Each track is electrically charged from beginning to end thanks to a powerful vocal performance and relentless musical energy that excels in finding melodic moments within its power. Of course, it must be noted that generating a sound of this magnitude is an impressive feat given that it was created by just three individuals. In creating an EP that fulfills the musical cravings of rock fans, Gloo also proved that the genre is very much alive and thriving. Those who have questioned as such simply must look closer, they must look to Littlehampton. For the torch is burning bright, and it is being fueled by Gloo.