The 50-something punk rockers combine razor sharp lyrics with a sound reminiscent of Dr Feelgood and The Clash!
Hailing from Portsmouth on England’s south coast, The Glorias (UK) describe themselves as a Punk Rock ‘n’ Roll Garage band. I’m delighted to review their third studio album ‘Songs For The Easily Pleased‘ which was released in October 2023.
The band’s name came from The Godfathers’ singer Peter Coyne, who (pre-Glorias guitarist) Bill spotted outside the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth, just before a sold out Stiff Little Fingers/The Godfathers gig in 2014. “Any chance of getting on the guest list?” Bill asked. When Bill gave his full name the Godfathers’ singer said “Bill Gaynor? Put Gloria on the list will ya?”
The Glorias started out as a five-piece in 2016, playing fast and dirty rock ‘n’ roll, with Gez Driffield on vocals. Their first album ‘Life’ll Get Ya‘ was released in 2018, followed by ‘The Moral High Ground‘ in January 2020. The following year saw the departure of Driffield, who lives over on the Isle of Wight, as work commitments were making it increasingly difficult for him to get across for rehearsals and gigs. Consequently The Glorias’ drummer Den Barry moved to lead vocals, while retaining Bill Gaynor and Mark Rogers on guitars, Andy ‘Nish’ Cornish on bass, and recruiting Steve Kirk on drums.
‘Songs For The Easily Pleased‘ is an ingenious title for the album, a collection of tracks which urge us to think about some of our attitudes. This band have a sense of humour, but more importantly, a burning outrage at the way the working classes have capitulated to their exploitation. Recorded with producer Steve ‘Smiley’ Barnard (The Alarm) at his studio in Fleet, it was singer Den’s first chance to write lyrics, which he seems to have mastered admirably.
“It’s not a massive departure from normal Glorias fare, lots of ranting in the old English tradition of standing up and waving our metaphorical fist at the elites, the public school-educated, the Tory party, royalty, Brexit voters” says Den. “We’ve got a bitter-sweet love song in there, and we’ve got a sentimental rock ‘n’ roller about my younger brother who we lost a couple of years ago”.
First track and single release from the album ‘Roll Up, You’re Next‘ is an absolute cracker! Voted to a high position in the 365 Radio Legacy Chart, it’s a genuinely excellent punk song, which you’ll love from first listen. Don’t be fooled by the press reports, the people in charge really don’t have your best interests at heart!
Shooting straight off the blocks with furious yet melodic guitars, ‘Rank ‘n File‘ slams the press; “They write with poison, they write with guile”. An absolutely blistering guitar solo in the middle section is well worth waiting for!
‘The Radio’s Playing Our Song‘ is the band’s current single, a bass driven lament “Where’d it all go wrong?” Instantly relatable for all to us who’ve been through a messy break-up with a romantic partner and the subsequent mixed emotions. More superb guitar work from Bill and Mark in this catchy number!
“God Save The Dream” is one of my favourites on the album – “Looking backwards never helps when driving down the road, we need to follow those who’ll help to share our heavy load, and not those who’ll cheat and lie to us while getting all the cream” A great tune and a timely warning that ‘knowing your place’ won’t get you anywhere! Emphatically anti-toff lyrics also aimed at the ones who govern us..
More rock ‘n’ roll with ‘Ten Songs A Day‘, a swipe at the sanitised modern world where the radio plays the same 10 songs each day, as sanctioned by the bland and the fearful. There’s certainly far more out there if you step outside the mainstream – go find it!
When I first heard ‘Down The Star‘ played live at the album launch show a few months ago, Den said “You can’t beat a bit of 12 bar”, and this rip-roaring, boogie woogie life story is a wonderful mid-album refresher. Glorious piano flickers underneath the guitar rhythms, set fully alight by Den’s lyrical memories of younger, wilder days.
‘Blue & Grey‘ makes smart use of a mini megaphone to distort the vocals, campaigning-style. It’s about the rich old white men talking all the money – that’ll be the Tories and their backers then! A strong guitar driven rock ‘n’ roll number, it brings to my mind the Spitting Image puppet of 90’s Prime Minister John Major, which became greyer every episode..
A call for the truth comes in the beseeching ‘Say What You Mean‘, highlighting the depressing mental health consequences of being lied to, with crashing cymbals and turbulent guitars adding poignancy to the track.
The shocking issue of homelessnes in the UK is considered in ‘No One Really Cares‘. Sung from the perspective of one of their number; “I’m human litter out on the street” witnessing the reactions of passers by; “If you look away I’m not really there” it’s a reminder that de-humanising sections of the poulation is a cruel thing to do. Pulsing base and drums and booming guitars hammer the point home.
Ending the album with an upbeat song ‘The Last Laugh‘ is a witty, jovial celebration of positive progress in modern society. “It’s 2022, it’s not ’75, and despite all the rumours, Sid James ain’t alive.” Those of us who detest the old racist, sexist and bigoted attitudes will have the last laugh! The clever, hilarious lyrics are backed by a beating heart from the drums.
The musicians of The Glorias have all played in various bands for decades, and their experience is apparent on this album. A super collection of songs on the ‘tricky’ third album confirms that there’s plenty in The Glorias’ musical tank! Receiving good air play on 365 Radio has brought their message to a wider set of fans, their live shows are engaging and exciting, and the band members are approachable, down-to-earth chaps whose love of music vividly radiates.
‘Songs For The Easily Pleased‘ is an album you can listen to anywhere – once it’s on it will stay on!
‘Songs For The Easily Pleased’ is self released by The Glorias – Buy your copy from Bandcamp HERE or directly from the band at a show.
Upcoming live dates:
Thu 8th Feb – The Brook, Southampton
Sun 25th Feb – Suburbs at The Holroyd, Guildford
Fri 1st Mar – The Butler, Reading
Sun 17th Mar – The Prince Albert, Brighton
Fri 26th Apr – 229, London
Sat 27th Apr – The Anvil, Bournemouth
TBC – Sat 11th May – The Barn, Portsmouth
MAIN PHOTO CREDIT: MICHELE PAUL PHOTORGAPHY
- ROLL UP, YOU’RE NEXT
- RANK N’ FILE
- THE RADIO’S PLAYING OUR SONG
- GOD SAVE THE DREAM
- TEN SONGS A DAY
- DOWN THE STAR
- BLUE & GREY
- SAY WHAT YOU MEAN
- NO ONE REALLY CARES
- THE LAST LAUGH
Keep up with The Glorias (UK) on Their Socials:
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‘Usually found jumping around down the front at gigs, I also relish taking photos and videos, singing, speaking with fellow music fans, and asking musicians the questions nobody else does Writing about my favourite bands and connecting with people who love music too keeps me more-or-less sane I’ve worked for over 25 years at a video production company, mainly filming live music events, therefore I have an additional backstage perspective!’