As I write this, I am drinking a beer that could serve as the craft brew equivalent of Partials’ debut EP Glossolalia. The beer is Omnipollo’s Shploing!!, an “India Pale Ale brewed with marshmallow, graham crackers, salt and lactose sugar with mango and vanilla added.” Whaaaa? Exactly. Keep that initial reaction in mind, because the similarities between the beer and this album go like this: 1) there is a lot going on in each; 2) they represent crazy mash-ups and fusions of different elements; 3) they both TOTALLY work; and 4) you’re going to have a great time enjoying either.
Partials’ Glossolalia EP cover
Partials is an eclectic group out of Athens, Georgia made up of six musicians whose tastes and musical experiences run the gamut from funk, soul, and Afrobeat to psychedelia and electronica–all of which are present in heavy doses on this album. They cite Talking Heads and LCD Soundsystem as major influences; I also hear a lot of Lucius and Midlake (especially the latter’s Antiphon album).
Influences and comparisons aside, Partials has a distinct sound, intellectual approach, and sonic orientation. For a band who sets out to headily explore the relationship between humanity and technology on this record, they certainly make music that very simply and very, very viscerally moves all of your human parts. Bassist Thomas Bailey puts it best when he says,
“We make music that works both for the head and the body, songs that are interesting to listen to on headphones in your bedroom, or to dance your ass off to at a party.”
I was hooked to Glossolalia after one listen of their second single from the EP, Fear of Silence. It starts off with a computer-sounding bass beat (as if sourced from a Mac’s audio files for keystrokes and notifications), syncopated percussion, and lead singer Adriana Thomas’ airy vocals before being joined by a jangly, hooky, almost garage-band guitar riff that truly drives the song.
From there, the entire album spills over with catchy melodies, interwoven lyrical and instrumental harmonies, complexly layered sounds, hypnotic vocals fused with power chord-soaked guitars fused with classic syncopated 70s’ Afrobeat counter-rhythms fused with industrial synths…..and a mean electronica version of a classic funk workout (Man Made Machine).
Given all that’s packed into Glossolalia, the album gets better with every new spin. Allow yourself to be immersed; it’s an exciting listen and an inspired debut.