Locals: The Glance infuses Ordinals with blood and guts

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Ordinals, the new EP from prog-folk quartet the Glance, opens with scenes of brutality — “We’re seeing greed, fear, and blood in the streets,” sings frontman Travis Bunner on the urgent “There’s Something About Egypt” — and only grows more agitated and despondent from there.

Over the course of the album’s half-dozen cuts (actually four songs stretched over six tracks), the bandmates rail on about fractured friendships, split personalities and, on “Vascular Fortitude,” suicide (the title refers to the resistance offered by the veins as the knife presses down).

In that sense, at least, the music is about as far removed from Bunner’s day-to-day life as imaginable. In his 9-to-5 existence, the singer/guitarist deals heavily with statistics as a market research analyst, and in an early March interview he essentially described himself as a horizontal line emotionally.

“I never really get very excited or really sad about anything; I generally stay pretty flat,” said Bunner, who joins bandmates Will Fleeter (drums/percussion), Keith Gibson (bass) and Wib Schneider (guitar) for a record release show at Victory’s Live on Saturday, March 21. “But I think my lyrics have always been a downer. I generally try to make them as depressing as possible. Whenever I feel like a song is too nice or too sweet … I try to make it feel emotionally distressful. I’m trying to write songs that make people feel something.”

Tunes for this new EP started taking shape once Gibson and Schneider joined the band nearly two years ago, with a bulk of the recording taking place in a basement studio in Upper Arlington. As the musicians worked, they drifted further from their bluegrass roots, incorporating rougher-edged textures that better held up to the grittier subject matter.

“I think these songs are a little more hard-nosed than our past songs, and we're moving more toward being a rock ’n’ roll band,” Bunner said. “I've always liked bluegrass, and … we’re still using those instruments, but now we don’t give a shit if [the music] has any bluegrass feel.”

The rawness in the music is further heightened by the current stripped-down lineup (the band, which once included as many as six members, has been performing as a four-piece since its mandolin player departed following album recording sessions).

“There are people [in town] who play mandolin, but nobody wants to play rock music. We’re like, ‘Hey, you want to play mandolin with us? And can we add a little distortion and dirty it up a little bit? And also, don't play it exactly like a mandolin. Instead play it a little like a guitar.’ That's pretty demanding to ask of anyone,” Bunner said. “Forcing ourselves to play as this smaller four-piece is tough, because I feel like I'm giving up all those small details I hear in the background. But for now at least it's just so much easier.”

Photo by Meghan Ralston

Victory's Live

9 p.m. Saturday, March 21

543 S. High St., Brewery District

ALSO PLAYING: The Helionauts, The Albrights