Dig the New Breed

Double bill of Sleepwalker and Gloritone reveals the changing face of Tempe guitar rock

Momentum was restored thanks to nice versions of slower songs, like the archly introspective "Walking Dead" ("In your room the candles burn/Still I see you haven't learned/To lie"), and "When Grey Skies Come," a wonderful, sideways ballad replete with trippy swirls and shadings. Things continued to pick up as the band burned through "Broken Arrow," a straight-ahead pop-chugger in which Anthonise copped a few Perry Farrell sing/shout inflections, Scropos pitched in with well-placed back-up vocals and Lancelot admirably bashed along. The evening later hit its highest point on the back-to-back sure hits "John Wayne" and "Halfway." Both songs are radio-ready monsters on disc, and the band translated the tunes live with a requisite dollop of gusto. "Halfway," already getting airplay around town, surged on a fast track, its pop smarts including an instantly memorable guitar intro and a short, sharp chorus. "John Wayne" came off even better, its wistful vocals and guitar escort reminiscent of the old Brit-pop band the Records. "John Wayne" also showed Anthonise as a capable teller of tales in describing a chase to keep a special someone from seeing a special something, with Anthonise singing of "speeding to the scene/Like a movie with John Wayne."

Gloritone's songs are especially effective in the way they sneak up on you. Anthonise writes material that's heavy on repetition and dependent on subtle hooks that hang long and loose off major chords, a sound that invites revisits. He's also a disciple of the Cobain/Corgan school of dynamics, in which passages are allowed to drag so as to make for an extra umph when things kick back in. A good example on the CD is "9 Summers," which the band didn't play live; a good example during the show was "Bird," which the band didn't include on the CD. "Bird" was the last song of the set and made for a nice exit, with Anthonise's guitar chords in full chime and the band in comfortable overdrive.

The evening ended with a sense of wanting more--a feeling prompted in part by Gloritone's 13-song performance wrapping up well before last call. But the encore mood was also the result of watching a promising band maturing by the measure. Gloritone could well be the Valley's top pop export of the summer (though the Pharaohs may have something to say about that). In any event, keep an eye on Anthonise and his pals. They're the real deal.

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