Tag Archive: Kids In Glass Houses

Kids In Glass Houses – Dirt

The success of Smart Casual propelled Kids In Glass Houses in to new heights, gaining momentum with every tour they went on and single they released. Smart Casual had charted reasonably in at #29 and set the Kids up for a follow-up album that could surpass its predecessor. Dirt was released on March 29th 2010, after two singles were brought out in the run up. In its first week of release, it charted 4 places higher than Smart Casual, at #25 on the UK album chart, although midweek, two days after its release, it was at #15. Dirt features guest vocals on two tracks, one includes New Found Glory, the other, more surprisingly, features Frankie Sandford, from the girl band The Saturdays.

Artbreaker I begins the album, starting with a 40 second guitar intro. When Aled Phillips’ vocals kick in, sounding more grungy and raspy, something I wasn’t really expecting from the get-go. It’s something that, once rid of the initial shock, really sounds new and different, in a good way. I must say, I was a bit sceptical at first, but I really got into the song after a listen or two. Next up, The Best Is Yet To Come, and this sounds like classic Kids In Glass Houses. The harmonies on the choruses and punchy verses are the formula for a great song. However, I can’t say I’m too fond of the chanting in the chorus, “Turn the lights out”, doesn’t really work for me. Probably my favourite song on the album, Sunshine, an epic rock ballad beginning with Phillips’ impressive falsetto, giving his voice a soft feel to it, leading up to the second half with his scratchy, harder sound. And if that wasn’t enough to grab you, the atmospheric chorus filled with raw emotion. “…cos I’ll be fine, without you, without you”, in the second half of the song after the chorus, is full of anger that you can really feel from him. Onto the second single, Matters At All, perfectly fitting for a release. Soft, melodic vocal verses with the backing vocals to match, leading up to a banging sing-along chorus. Definitely one of the better songs on the album. Then the first single, Youngblood (Let It Out), first released back in October 2009. Also great as the new single from a new chapter in the Glass Houses story. With an awesome guitar riff intro to hook you in, then Aled’s vocals, which almost sound like Kings Of Leon at the beginning. The chorus sounds perfect for a live show, the backing cheers of “Hey” would fit perfectly at a gig. Lilli Rose, brings the inevitable slower song to the album, which sort of let them down last album. Thankfully, the song is only soft and slow in the verses, which actually work by the way, before they bring it home in the chorus. My favourite part is nearer the end when the song comes to a pause, before a harmonic backing vocal comes in, and the “Lilli Rose” is sang, followed by a rest by everything, before the song comes back into life. Giving Up, having a “chilled-out” feel, like described in the previous album, actually has presence, something the slower songs didn’t have on Smart Casual. It keeps you hooked in and interested throughout. With an impressive bridge and chorus, this song is a sign that their slower songs are improving. For Better Or Hearse, ironically, is one of the more upbeat and catchy songs, not in keeping with its title. It has a great energy from the beginning, and all the way throughout. “Never gonna see, never gonna see another day” is one of my favourite parts in the song. Also, the brass instruments between the chorus and verses are a surprising, and welcome, addition. Undercover Lover, featuring guest vocals from Frankie Sandford, starts of quiet, almost haunting with just a guitar riff over the vocals. Then Sandford comes in just before the chorus begins, and throughout it also. If you’re a fan of The Saturdays, you probably wouldn’t even recognise one of its members was singing. Her vocals sound great, though. The chorus has a charming feel to it, I’m not sure how to describe it. Maybe Tomorrow continues the guest vocalists, with the guys from New Found Glory dropping in to help out. I can’t say, however, that they really make an impression. They’re involved in the acapella chorus and the chorus that follows, but probably wouldn’t have been missed if they weren’t there. The Morning Afterlife is a slow song, which has a raspy vocal from Phillips, making him sound like a completely different singer. Although it’s a slow song, it’s actually impressive. It’s tender and emotive, completely in a class of its own compared to the slower songs on Smart Casual. Next, Hunt The Haunted, and Phillips brings back the falsetto in the beginning of the verse, the song’s chorus feels a little slow, but during the second half of it, when there’s a long note rising in pitch, it starts sounding better on the ears. It’s a decent song, but one that isn’t below par in keeping with the quality of the rest of the album. Bringing the album to a close, Artbreaker II, carrying on from where they left off in the beginning. Although I do enjoy the sound of the Artbreakers, I’m not really sure of the point of having two songs at each end, rather than just one bigger song. Nevertheless, it finishes the album off in explosive style.

In my opinion, it’s a step in the right direction from their debut. They’ve matured, improved and outshined Smart Casual. Impressive ballads and epic rock anthems. 8.5/10


Kids In Glass Houses, a Welsh quintet, were an unknown, unsigned band, embarking on tours with already established acts such as Lostprophets and 30 Seconds To Mars. It wasn’t until late 2007 when they were finally signed to a record label and could put their demos to good use in the studio. They had already released an EP, E-Pocalypse!, before getting signed, and their debut album featured three of the songs from this EP. One single, which they released prior to the debut album, was Me, Me, Me, which was later re-released as Give Me What I Want, which made the cut on the album. After much anticipation, the album, Smart Casual, was released on May 26th 2008.

The first track on the album, Fisticuffs, is completely self-explanatory. Without sounding too cliché, the song starts the album with a “punch”. It’s a fast-paced, action song, filled with angst and attitude. Easy Tiger follows up, and was released as a single. Understandably so, as it’s a real catchy song, with a “do-do-do” chorus that will imprint in your memory. Previously titled ‘Me, Me, Me‘, Give Me What I Want comes along third on the album. The song’s lead guitar riff is awesome, showcasing the talent that the Welsh five-piece have to offer, with Aled Phillips vocal brilliance adding to the quality. Saturday brings the pace down a little, Phillips sounds like a crooner at the beginning of the song, whether intentional or not, it works. This song is a highlight. Next up, from highlight to possible lowlight, Lovely Bones doesn’t quite do it for me. Its lyrics are fine, the melodies, for me, are a little unimpressive, and the guitar riffs feel a little familiar to me, whether that’s because of similar bands out there or not, I’m not certain. Shameless brings the quality of the album up slightly. It’s an improvement from the previous song, the vocals are more imaginative and better to sing along to, if that’s what you want. Onto probably one of my favourite songs, Girls has a real character to it. The chorus includes a nice falsetto from Phillips and the lyrics are dark and twisty at parts, in a good way. “You put the fun back into the funeral”, for example, suggests the imagination into Kids In Glass Houses lyrical range. Onto a song that almost didn’t make the album, Good Boys Gone Rad. It would have been a real shame if this hadn’t made Smart Casual, as the first words in each verse have a great long note to introduce you to each part of the song. Dance All Night slows down the tempo slightly, with, what’s become almost a signature sound, Phillips’ falsetto range graces our presence once again. The song has a chilled-out feel to it. Pillow Talk, as the song may connote, also has a chilled out feel to it. It’s definitely a song to listen to when you’re in a good mood, possibly making you want to sway a little bit! Now my other favourite song appears late in the album, Raise Hell, which was, I think, the very first song I ever heard by these guys. And, although it’s been re-mixed for the album since it was on their EP, it makes the song even better. It’s definitely a huge sing-along anthem for a live show. With long, soaring notes throughout, it is definitely a crowd pleaser. Finally, Church Tongue rounds off the album, with backing “na-na’s” welcoming you into the song, the song ends the album in style, demonstrating that the guys want to finish how they started, with a bold impression.

Smart Casual started off strong, picked up the pace until around the middle of the album, where it lacked the “oomph” that it had in the beginning. Luckily, the album didn’t peak at the beginning, saving their best, not only for the beginning, but for last too. This is a strong debut from the Welsh boys, earning a respectable 7.5/10 from me.