Life Is Not A Lesson by Glitterer album review by Adam Williams for Northern Transmissions




Life Is Not A Lesson

After Title Fight decided to hit pause back in 2018, co-frontman Ned Russin soon re-appeared as Glitterer with 2019’s debut LP ‘Looking Through The Shades’; a record anchored by synths, drum machines and liberal dollops of fuzzy guitar. While the album was born from a punk world, his primary outing was heralded as “a far cry from anything Russin has ever been part of before” by Stereogum. Leap forward to 2021 and the Washington D.C. resident has readied his sophomore release ‘Life Is Not A Lesson’; a collection of songs that build upon the foundations of his first output but ramp up the scuzziness, while still preserving the use of kitsch electronics and rustic beats.

‘Life Is Not Lesson’, across its 12 tracks and 22 minutes, feels like a series of tiny portholes into Russin’s world, as he documents personal struggles, tales of fraught relationships and a crisis of confidence. Via distorted guitars, bombastic drums and a vocal that sounds like it’s been dredged up from his gut, our protagonist’s second album, although inspired by punk and hardcore, takes on a grunge angle, with songs that plod along at a steady, head bobbing pace. Sonically Glitterer almost takes on the guise of a nasty-sounding Weezer; the pop hooks are there but they’re barbed and baited with chunks of melancholy. ‘Try Harder Still’ finds Russin pondering “I still can’t figure out what I’m worth”, as clouds of rough guitar merge with layers of synth. A similar aesthetic, albeit with the electronics wrestling for the limelight, awaits the listener on ‘I Made The Call’ as the former Title Fight man finds himself in two minds over something “I didn’t know what I should do”. ‘Fire’s bass driven, poppy twinkle swerves away from punk-ish alt-rock but the trappings of sadness are omnipresent via “I am much too tired” and the philosophical “maybe you’ll never know/life is long/it burns slow” that punctuates the song’s extended drum outro. The album’s eponymous track calls time on the LP, with plinky-plonky electronics and vapour-like synths totally usurping the noisy rock found elsewhere on ‘Life Is Not A Lesson’. Even though Russin is ruminating on not taking any teachings from our existence on this earth, it seems some relationships have left their scars as he murmurs “build another bridge for them to burn”.

Even with a short and snappy run time, the LP has the tendency to blur into one, with some tracks sounding pretty similar to the ones that precede them – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but on repeated listens there’s a jarring déjà vu. Albeit the inclusion of synthetic facets helps to inject some variety here and there. All being said, this doesn’t dilute ‘Life Is Not A Lesson’s, raw and personal collection of well-crafted songs.