Coming off of the release of their Roadrunner Records’ debut LP, Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence, Daryl Palumbo and his bandmates in Glassjaw clearly were fed up with their partnership with Roadrunner, going very far in interviews to explain their disdain for their record label. The band entered 2001 secretly recording the follow up to their debut with producer Ross Robinson (The Cure, Slipknot), and would eventually shop the finished product called Worship and Tribute to several major labels before deciding to sign with Warner Bros. Records. When I first heard the new album, I can remember a certain buzz surrounding several punk websites and forums about this band named Glassjaw who were changing the post-hardcore game. This buzz and hype were certainly warranted with songs like “Ape Dos Mil,” “Cosmopolitan Bloodloss,” and “Pink Roses.” The energy was frenetic, the band sounded larger than life, and there was something immediately special about this group of musicians willing to put their best foot forward to avoid the sophomore slump. Worship and Tribute would debut at #82 on the Billboard 200, largely due to positive word of mouth and critical reception, and Glassjaw would find themselves on several key touring stints with festivals like Ozzfest, The Warped Tour, as well as partnering with Sparta, Hot Water Music, and a US headlining trek in October/November of the same year. Glassjaw were undeniable and they were coming straight for all of their doubters.
Starting off the set with the abrasive “Tip Your Bartender” reminded me of the approach At The Drive-In took on Relationship of Command, with equally pleasing results. Daryl Palumbo is as charismatic as ever on songs like this one that launch Glassjaw into the stratosphere of notoriety in the genre. The dual guitar attack from Todd Weinstock and Justin Beck (who also plays bass on the album) make for an incredible wall of sound to get things starting on the right trajectory. “Mu Empire” expands upon the ideas found on the opener, and finds Palumbo crooning on the initial verse of, “Mr. Shiver, I’m glad you sent a line / Euphoria’s endearing / But it’s cold, we might as well retire / To the drawer where all used things resign.” Drummer Shannon Larkin is incredibly captivating on this track as well, and makes some very unique-sounding fills throughout the song.
”Cosmopolitan Bloodloss” follows the one-two punch of the opening statements, and features a great, anthemic chorus to break up some of the more aggressive-tinged guitar sounds. Palumbo’s delivery on the hook of, “After all, after all / Should they let you decide?” sounds as refreshing as the first time I heard the song, and the band rarely relents in their ability to keep things interesting over the course of the record. It was a perfect choice of a lead single, so their partnership with Warner Bros. was off an running in the right direction.
A rare break in the action comes in the second single released, “Ape Dos Mil,” that finds Glassjaw at their most reflective as self-aware. Palumbo sings over a spiraling guitar riff and the continued drumming brilliance of Larkin, who keeps the beat interesting and unpredictable. Not to be lost in pop shuffle, “Pink Roses” brings back the sound Glassjaw have grown most accustomed to. The band sticks true to their sound with aggressive sounding verses paired with an anthemic and power-pop chorus that lifts the listener closer to the heavens.
”Must’ve Run All Day” features another moment to breathe in the set, and has a very Mars Volta feel to it that I never really picked up on until my subsequent listens. I found the second verse of, “If it makes you, it takes you / I don’t want to / If it makes you stare / In the bare, anyway / If it’s the last thing you do, if it’s the last thing you do / If it’s the last thing you do, plagiarize,” to be well thought out and it leaves the audience hanging onto every lyric, wondering what just hit them. The beauty of this song quickly fades away with the brazen “Stuck Pig,” that features shouted vocals nearly throughout, and yet the instruments never overpower Palumbo’s ability to remain the focal point in the mix.
Other great songs like “Radio Cambodia” showcased Glassjaw’s ability to mix in pop elements in their hooks paired with great post-hardcore elements in their instrumentation to keep things at the apex of musical interest. “The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports” is arguably the most unique song to be found on Worship and Tribute as Palumbo rambles in the bridge of, “Welcome back race fans, it’s Cavalcade sport time again / Here at the jamboree, home of the hits / How you doing Bob? / It’s the last stretch / And my heart.. my heart stays in the lead,” much like a play-by-play announcer would show discourse between themself and their colleagues. It still makes for a pretty cool way of getting interest high in their brand of emo-tinged post-hardcore rock that made them stood out from the pack of a crowded scene of similar-sounding bands. Glassjaw’s secret to standing out was their ability to build interesting guitar riffs paired with Palumbo’s energetic vocal delivery into a crowd-pleasing package.
By the time you reach the closer of “Trailer Park Jesus,” your mind is likely scrambled from the punishing, relentless, and mesmerizing sound brought forth on Worship and Tribute. Glassjaw were one of the most talented and creatively organized bands to come through the post-hardcore ranks during the “Golden Era” of our scene, and they still remain a beacon of inspiration that most newer bands look back on as a core influence in their musical discovery in their own sound.