Review: Zachary Boudrot – In the Glue

The Craft of Depth and Dimension

So often in local scenes recorded music sounds like three or more people in a room with some mics thrown on. That band will record their parts, an engineer will layer them over each other, and they’ll all rub their hands together and call it a day.

What’s rare is a release with depth, dimension, and a demonstrated knowledge of how to craft an effective musical motif. In the Glue, Zachary Boudrot’s debut album, is all these things.

“Hum – Drum” is one of those tracks that brings all these positive qualities together in one song. The erie guitar line was seemingly crafted in a way that treats sound and emptiness as elements of equal weight and measure. Then, you’re slammed with a deep-throated vocal outro that ends as soon as it happened.

Throughout In the Glue, endlessly catchy hooks – though to be clear, I am not talking about poppiness or all the negative connotations of that tag – are set in compositions conceived for wide, open catacombs. Very much an acoustic and vocal album, it’s hard not to hear The Beach Boys, Punch Brothers, and other bands known for thickly layered vocal approaches and novel melodic concepts that are at once pleasing and surprising.

There’s a lot of moods that Boudrot navigates through on In the Glue. “The ABC’s” is a whimsical romp through catchy leads and wordplay on a level of supreme sweetness. “Tongue Tied” – for which there is a must-see music video of classic cinematic montage – is a tepid rocker of a tune that in an unexplainable way fits perfect with Boudrot’s often understated and singular vocal delivery.

In the Glue demonstrates in many ways Boudrot’s compositional chops above all else. Stylistically, the release is hard to encapsulate into a single genre, of which not a single expression is done badly. It also shows Boudrot understands the value of not only a well-done vocal presentation, but one that is wholly his own – and how that can uplift even the simplest of songs.

I see these songs having a much larger appeal than just our little old scene. “The ABC’s” is the clear radio hit in my opinion, while “College” is a purely artful display of command over dimension. All in all, In the Glue is one of the most polished pieces of music I’ve heard come out of the Lowell music scene this year – and in many ways one of the most interesting I’ve reviewed. To sleep on this release not only means sitting out on not supporting the local scene, but depriving yourself of some truly playlist-worthy tunes I’m sure you’ll be coming back to time and time again.

– Al Gentile