Glow dumbs down Niemerski's music into mass market-ready chunks. It's like he's taken a coat of plastic wrap and applied it liberally to the whole album, leaving it texturally uniform and smooth, but curiously distant. There are wrinkles in such an all-encompassing approach, particularly the instrumentals, which are so atrocious it's hard to fathom why they were included at all. Thankfully, the majority of Glow features vocalists to fill the blanks. Outside of two spots from Jeremy Glenn and Jamie Lidell, the album may as well be credited to Tensnake and Fiora, the Australian singer who steals the spotlight from her producer more than once.
Fiora makes a fine foil. Her breathy ad-libs are hooks in themselves, she's emotive without overdoing it and she tackles generic pop fare with real enthusiasm. She's the kind of guest you might imagine on a Disclosure track—which is probably a better reference point for Glow than anything in Tensnake's discography. Glow's most successful songs channel the demure sexiness of lite FM radio, bolstered with powerful basslines and floor-ready percussion. The bumping Nile Rodgers collaboration "Love Sublime," the sultry "Kill The Time" and the yearning "No Relief" are all excellent fodder for a more mature pop playlist.
The album has its fair share of bad ideas, and when Niemerski falls, he falls hard. The Jeremy Glenn-featuring "Selfish" sounds like the theme song for a straight-to-DVD romantic comedy, while the confounding "No Colour" briefly erupts with dubstep wobbles, as if Niemerski fell asleep on his computer and hit the wrong button. To his credit, though, he generally avoids rehashing "Coma Cat," only borrowing its vibe for the album's one decent instrumental, "Things Left To Say."
An album full of quirky pop like this could have been a knockout, but instead, Niemerski has pulled his punches and delivered a record full of closely-groomed pop house. Fans may welcome some of the record's fluffier moments, and there are some tunes that could go down in the Tensnake catalogue as classics. Taken as a whole, however, listening to Glow is bit like trying to eat dessert for dinner—sweet enough to make you sick, and empty enough to leave you wanting something more substantial.
Wed / 26 Mar 2014
01. First Song
02. Love Sublime feat. Nile Rodgers & Fiora
03. Feel Of Love feat. Jacques Lu Cont & Jamie Lidell
04. No Colour
05. Ten Minutes
06. Kill The Time feat. Fiora
07. Selfish feat. Jeremy Glenn
08. Good Enough To Keep feat. Nile Rodgers & Fiora
09. Give Me
10. Listen Everybody
11. See Right Through feat. Fiora
12. No Relief feat. Fiora
13. Things Left To Say
14. 58 BPM feat. Fiora
15. Last Song