Glasvegas Aims for 'Epic' Sound on 'Euphoric Heartbreak'
Rab Allan, guitarist in U.K. alt-rock act Glasvegas, likens his experiences from the past few years to "being right in the middle of a tornado."
"I remember certain times and key gigs, but my memory is quite hazy," says Allan, who formed the band in Glasgow, Scotland, with his cousin James Allan in 2003. "It was a bit of a whirlwind for a few different reasons," he adds wryly.
To recap, those reasons entail a Mercury Prize nomination for the band's self-titled 2008 debut; two years of relentless touring, including six separate U.S. treks; supporting slots with U2 and Kings of Leon; and a hedonistic party attitude culminating in singer James overdosing backstage at Coachella in 2009.
Video: Glasvegas performs "Euphoria, Take My Hand"
"It was mad, but when you get three working-class guys and give them a ton of money, they're going to take full advantage," Rab says. He notes that the band, which includes bassist Paul Donoghue and drummer Jonna Lofgren, now channels its energy exclusively into making music.
The result is Glasvegas' sophomore set, "Euphoric Heartbreak" (Columbia/Sony Music). At times reminiscent of U2, the towering alt-rock record was released digitally April 5. Its domestic physical release is May 17.
The 11-track album debuted at No. 10 with first-week U.K. sales of 11,000, according to the Official Charts Co. It also bowed at No. 1 in Sweden. The band's self-titled debut set has moved 500,000 units worldwide, according to Columbia.
"The lyrical content on the first album was very much about working-class situations," says Chris Dempsey, product manager at Columbia U.K. "With 'Euphoric Heartbreak,' there are many more universal themes lyrically combined with an epic sound. It's something that could well work better internationally than the first album."
Glasvegas will embark on a 10-date stateside tour starting May 23 at New York's Bowery Ballroom and wrapping June 8 at Los Angeles' Troubadour. Additional U.S. dates are planned for the fall.
Back on home turf, the quartet will tour the United Kingdom April 23-May 11, followed by other European gigs. Key promotional efforts include live performances on British TV shows "Later . . . With Jools Holland" (BBC 2) and "Topman CTRL" (Channel 4).
Meanwhile, Rab says that the addition of new drummer Lofgren has lifted the group's spirits. He claims the decision to split with original percussionist Caroline McKay was at her request.
"This is the best that the band has ever been," Rab says with a smile. "Everyone is really happy with where we're at right now."