New Audio: Queens’ Glassio Releases a Glistening and Earnest Pop Confection

Glassio · Breaking Through

Glassio is a Queens-based synth pop act that can trace its origins back to 2015 when its founding members — Sam R. and Charles Pinel  — met while attending NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. Since the project’s formation, it has increasingly become the Queens-born and-based Sam R’s solo recording project. Interestingly, during that same period of time, Sam R. has managed to develop and hone what he has dubbed “melancholy disco,” a mix of dance music influences, wavering pop melodies, introspective, narrative-based lyrics and lush harmonies. Thematically, Glassio’s work draws from its creative mastermind’s own life and heartbreak, the difficult wrestling of self-acceptance we all deal with throughout our lives, loneliness and of course, major life changes.

Last year, Sam R released his sophomore Glassio EP EP Age of Experience, an effort that Mother Jones called “proof that electronic music and great storytelling are a perfect match.” The EP featured “Back for More,” which amassed over 2 million Spotify streams while being featured on Alan Ball’s HBO show Here & Now Outside of his own work, Sam R. has received attention for remixing and reworking the work of artists like Madge, Argonaut & Wasp, Sulene and Goldwash.

Sam R’s full-length, 11 song debut For The Very Last Time officially dropped yesterday — and so far, the Queens-based artist has released a handful of singles including “A Million Doubts,” which was featured in the latest season of the Freeform TV series Good Trouble“Nobody Stayed For The DJ,” “Are You Having Fun Without Me?” and “Make No Mistake,” the album’s fourth single, which featured a guest backing spot from New York-based vocalist Daneshevskaya. Centered around twinkling synth arpeggios, thumping beats and a soaring hook, the song finds Sam R. balancing an achingly wistful nostalgia with a much-needed sense of optimism. In a narrative sense, the album’s material captures the growth and re-birth of someone’s character out of a dark space. Thematically, the album is focused on shedding negativity and figuring out a way to trust yourself to love others again. So by the album’s last song, the character you’ve been hearing about has managed to evolve, accept their shortcomings and find a way to heal from personal loss.

“I wanted to take electronic-pop tropes and use them in a more fragile, loving way. I think there’s a bit of spiritual nature to the album — much of it is about rediscovering your faith in the world and those around you, as well as yourself, and much of it is about accepting fate,” Glassio’s Sam R. explains in press notes. “For those reasons, I wanted the songs to all sort of feel like little electronic-pop hymns. The record is about proudly displaying and accepting fragility. I needed the mixes and production to mirror that too. Nothing is mixed ‘perfectly’ by any means. I like having some instruments uncomfortably quiet and some uncomfortably loud. Many of the songs on the record are about feeling very disconnected and isolated from the world.”

“Breaking Through,” For The Very Last Time‘s fifth and latest single is centered around layers of glistening synth arpeggios, thumping beats and Sam R.’s plaintive vocals. And while further cementing the Queens-based artist’s reputation for an unerring knack for writing deeply earnest material with infectious hooks, the track evokes a skittish uncertainty that begrudgingly and slowly grows into confidence, as its narrator admits his vulnerability and frailties.

I have to add that half of the proceeds from the album will go to Black Mental Health Alliance while 100% of Bandcamp proceeds will go towards BHMA. So if you dig Glassio and want to buy the album, your money will also go to a great and necessary cause.