TL;DR // Short Version
This Glass Embrace is an indie rock band from Phoenix, Arizona. Since 2006, they have released five full-lengths (that they’ll admit to) and three EPs. They play guitar-driven pop punk, noisy post-hardcore jams, and folky acoustic songs with glockenspiels, but very rarely all at the same time. Whichever style they’re in, they have a passion for honest, thoughtful lyrics that grapple with both the mundane and the existential.
He had never played an out-of-town show, and was thrilled to be invited to this one. The map showed a yawning gap between dots. He had images of driving through trackless desert, headlights piercing the unknown, the car’s trunk stuffed with guitars. An adventure.
Regrettably, on the drive out, Matt LeFevers discovered that every town in central Arizona is part of the same Phoenix sprawl, and even the hours-long trek to the show never took him into any sort of wilderness. But the show would change his life nonetheless.
Matt was supporting his solo record, an album called That Being Said…, and had played a number of local shows with his revolving cast of collaborators. When a gig surfaced, he would call around to his friends and assemble the night’s band out of whoever was available. He had given no thought to forming a permanent lineup and he assumed, when it came time to record A Ghost in the Photograph, the follow-up record he had already begun writing, he would repeat this process.
Matt pulled into the parking lot of the church where the gig was being held, and walked in to meet the headlining band. “Hi, I’m Kenny,” their guitar player said. “We are best friends now, and will be for always,” he definitely did not say, but it would have been accurate if he did.
Matt hung up the phone, an increasing maw of panic welling open in his guts. Kenny was available to play bass for the next show, which was terrific, but this strategy of assembling a random new band for each gig had begun to reveal its fatal flaw. No drummer was available.
His mood was not improved when he arrived home to hear cymbals crashing from inside the house. He had bought a drum kit during the recording of That Being Said…, in order to play the parts himself. Not so that his younger sibling – who was not even a drummer – could crash around on it when Matt was at work.
Zoey had her headphones in, even assuming she could have heard anything over the volume of the drums.
“Oh, hey.” Zoey silenced the ringing crash cymbal and removed one of her ear buds.
“Why are you playing my drums?”
“Oh.” Zoey held up one of the ear buds, tinny music still blasting from it. “I’m learning the songs for your show.”
Matt discovered the unique sensation of feeling like an asshole and wanting to cry at the same time.
It was good thinking to bring two guitars to the gig, Matt thought to himself as they packed up afterwards, since I once again managed to break a string. He had broken it on a song called “Not Broken, Just Fractured”, which happened at every show, and was beginning to make him feel like the song’s title had accidentally become a witch’s curse. He wiped the sweat from his face, hair a chaotic mess, head spinning. Another thing he thought was, that sounded goddamn incredible.
“Sorry if I made any mistakes,” Kenny said, also drenched in sweat and putting his bass away. “I didn’t have that much time to learn the songs.”
“No way. It sounded unbelievable. Would you want to do this again?”
“Hell yeah, man. Let me know when the next gig is.”
“Me too,” Zoey said, breaking down Matt’s drum set. Nine years of guitar lessons had made hardly any impression on Zoey, but sitting behind a drum kit after only two weeks’ practice, she had been like a force unleashed.
They didn’t necessarily know it but This Glass Embrace had just played their first show.
Kenny and Zoey, circa 2007.
This Glass Embrace is an indie rock band.
The core of the group is Matt LeFevers (vocals, guitar, and about twelve other things), his sister Zoey (drums, screaming, the occasional violin), and Kenny Rice (bass, et cetera). Matt’s wife Jackie serves as something of a quiet fourth member, singing on all of their albums and sometimes playing synth or didjeridu but seldom appearing in music videos or group photos.
The band has released five albums (not counting Matt’s solo record That Being Said…, which was later allowed to quietly go out of print, since a record made without Zoey and Kenny came to increasingly feel like it didn’t belong).
- A Ghost in the Photograph (2008), a spectacularly involved concept album about a fractured couple and a possibly haunted house, featuring four (!) hidden tracks and running so long the band had to cut a song to fit it onto an 80 minute compact disc.
- Brother, We Are Devils! (2011), a split record featuring five sparse acoustic songs and five loud rock songs. After this, the band would continue to do both of these things on future albums, but would return to mixing them up throughout the track listing.
- The Light That Shines Into Our Graves (2013), a massively ambitious album about mortality and purpose, in which every member of the band played at least two strange new instruments that had never appeared on one of their albums before.
- Don’t Let Your Eyes Forget The Stars (2015), something of a return to the band’s emo/punk roots and an introspective look at whether growing up and being fully alive are mutually exclusive.
Their new record, Belong Here (2019), is a propulsive indie-punk examination of political xenophobia, fear, and other, more personal griefs and joys – all the things within and without that keep us from belonging.