Glass Hammer: Cor Cordium

The latest New Yes Frontman, at the day job.

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With singer Jon Davison recently becoming the nine millionth Yes vocalist, fans will be curious to ascertain what his own band sounds like. Not that Glass Hammer are actually unknowns: the Tennessee-formed outfit’s 14th album continues a 20-year career which began as a lark for two Tolkien obsessives (Steve Babb and Fred Schendel), but has built momentum due to the fact that they’re really very good.

Like 2010’s If, Cor Cordium is what you’d get if you decided there wasn’t enough Class-A prog in the world and asked a robot to make you something equal parts Yes, Canterbury and Genesis.

Davison, also formerly with Yes tribute band Roundabout, packs a powerful falsetto, and the (long) song structures shift precisely as and when you’d want them to, while guitarist Alan Shikoh is no slouch. Nothing Box is an ambivalent hymn to oblivion which uses every stop-start-fast-slow trick in the book to great effect. If Dear Daddy suffers from excessive therapy-babble, the 18-minute To Someone soars romantically, despite a few dozen false endings.

Overall, it’s more Fly From Here than Close To The Edge, but Glass Hammer remain fragile in all the right places.

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.