glorydive
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glorydive

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This trio never disappoints. I’ve been following their career for quite a while, from when frontman/guitarist Taylor Roberts was a solo artist, to when he was the driving force behind Taylor Roberts Music, to the band’s current re-emergence as Glorydive. The name may have changed, but the daringly experimental and high-powered rock energy hasn’t.

Roberts is a passionate vocalist who conveys his love for rock music without betraying his strong Christian beliefs. Mark Nippert is a lightning-fast electric violin player who adds a Middle-Eastern, exotic vibe to the proceedings. And I’ll go out on a limb and say that Brian Tavener is one of the best live percussionists I’ve even seen – very boyishly joyful and high-energy with the serious skills to back up the showmanship.

While the new CD does have its occasional slips, the overall result is quite impressive. What used to be a rock and roll bar-band sound is now more sophisticated, with bold strides into operatic rock (“Bring It”), uplifting reggae (“New Day”) and even a mix of classical and country (the standout instrumental track “Keep the Change,” which is only two minutes long – I could have stayed with this one for another two or three minutes).

As the sole lyricist, Roberts has been gradually moving away from formulated stanzas, and he’s at his best here. His sharp look at a soul sinking from bad to worse is vivid in “Bring It”: “My hypocrisy was overshadowed by my ability to lie and look you in the eye.” I do hesitate at the lyrics in other songs in which Roberts allows his faith to make him a bit preachy. “Anyone at All” turns into a pretty judgmental look at a sexually uninhibited woman:

When you give your body to somebody else
You give yourself to anyone at all
You’re an open door that doesn’t even need a key
You spend your living being just what they want you to be ...

I’m a pretty conservative girl myself, but even my spirit rose in protest over those lyrics.

The only other slip I have to mention comes from over-reaching a bit musically. Whenever a band tears down the wall and tackles every musical challenge, it’s going to get in over its head here and there. The one place they drown on this CD is on “The Trouble With You,” which jerks around musically from one tempo to another, creating a bewildering effect. Interestingly, with so much experimentation on one CD, this is the only place they fall flat. When a band is willing to take this many risks, I can forgive them the occasional stumbles.

The standout of this CD is “I am the One.” When it comes to hip-hop, this is where I would have expected these three white boys to trip themselves up. But they carry this through with absolute credibility, and here’s where Nippert takes full control of the band by accenting the hip-hop beats with a catchy, mystical riff on the electric violin. On this track, the band sails right past its ability to impress me and flat-out surprises me.

Glorydive keeps the energy up all the way through, making this CD a great ride. It leaves me wondering how they can possibly top themselves next time. I look forward to finding out. - Jennifer Layton, indie-music.com


Discography

glorydive (self-titled) -- 2006, full-length

as Taylor Roberts Music (TRM):
This Weather -- 2004, full-length
Show and Tell -- 2003, 5-song EP

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Bio

Glorydive plays rock music with electric violin, hand drums, acoustic guitar, and bass guitar. We put this instrument line-up together in February of 2002. Going by the name Taylor Roberts Music, we released a five song EP titled Show and Tell (2003) and a full-length album titled This Weather (2004). In 2006, we changed our name to glorydive and recorded our first full-length album (self-titled) under this moniker. The new album contains 12 songs, most of which were written and played live over the past two years. We tracked the songs live, sans click-tracks, at Overdub Lane in Durham, NC with Engineer John Plymale. This gave us the energy we wanted in each of the tracks; an energy that is only found when the band plays together on stage. After a minimal amount of overdubs at our home studio in Raleigh, we came back to Overdub Lane to have Plymale mix the project. With its pseudo-live sound and variety of emotion conveyed through each of the 12 songs, this self-titled album truly represents the growth of glorydive and the five year journey we’ve been on to get to where we are now.