Just two years have passed since Gloria released their eponymous debut album. Since 2013, Gloria’s star has been in the ascendancy. They’re regarded as one of the rising stars of the German music scene. However, things were very different when Klaas Heufer-Umlauf, Mark Tavassol, and Tim Schierenbeck first started making music.
Back then, music was a hobby for the three members of Gloria.They practised in various flats in Hamburg. It was their way of relaxing when the day was done. Gradually, though, things started to change.
After three years practising and recording songs, Mark Tavassol realised that maybe, they had enough material for an album. Given Mark’s past, it made sense that he become producer.
Between 2000 and 2012, Mark Tavassol had been a member of the band Wir Sind Helden. They released six albums between 2003 and 2010. However, in 2012 Wir Sind Helden was put on hold indefinitely. It wasn’t long after that, when Mark met the other two members of Gloria.
Tim Schierenbeck had also been in a band, The Splashdowns. They released three albums between 2000 and 2011. The only member of Gloria not to have been in a band, was Klaas Heufer-Umlauf. However, he was a familiar face in Germany. He was a TV host and actor. When he joined Gloria, he added singer to his CV.
When Mark took over the role of Gloria’s producer, he realised the band had potential. Although Klaus was initially a reluctant vocalist, he was talented. Combined with the experience Mark and Tim brought to Gloria, they could be a potent combination. So Mark began working on the songs.
Soon, the songs began to take shape. These songs were unique. Later, the members of Gloria described them as: “rough clever poetry, verses for deep nights…things for the best times of the day, lines that you write on the hand, so you have them ready quickly.” These literate, musical musings beam Gloria, the Hamburg based group’s eponymous debut album.
Before Gloria was released on 27th September 2013, on one of Germany’s premier labels, Grönland Records, critics had their say on the album. Gloria was well received by critics. They were impressed by an album of well crafted songs written by the three members of Gloria. These songs were melodic, emotive and came to life thanks to Klaas Heufer-Umlauf’s vocals. Buoyed by critically acclaimed reviews, Gloria was released on 27th September 2013, just before Gloria headed out on tour.
The tour started in Berlin, before heading to Hamburg, Gloria’s hometown. That night in Hamburg, Gloria were the homecoming Kings. Having wowed their hometown crowd, Gloria’s tour continued. By then, their eponymous debut album was proving a commercial success. Gloria’s star was in the ascendancy, and a great future was forecast for the group.
Since then, Gloria have returned to the studio and have recorded their sophomore album Geister (Ghosts). It features eleven new songs. Just like Gloria, the eleven songs on Geister were penned by the three members of the band. Gloria then headed to the studio.
In the Hamburg studio, Gloria began work on their sophomore album. Mark Tavassol played bass and Tim Schierenbeck drums. Klaas Heufer-Umlauf the once reluctant frontman, was now an assured lead vocalist. The three friends recorded eleven tracks which became Geister.
Just like Gloria, Geister was released on Berlin-based Grönland Records. However, before that critics had their say on Gloria’s new album. They hailed the album a fitting followup to Gloria. Geister was released to plaudits and critical acclaim. Gloria had come a long way since their early days in Hamburg.
That’s apparent on Geister. It seemed that in the two years since Gloria had released their debut album, they’ve certainly grown and matured as a band. They’re a tight, talented who come across as self-assured and confident. Seamlessly, Gloria combine brief moments of ambient with elements of indie rock, pop and post rock on Geister. However, where they’ve really matured is as songwriters.
That’s the case from Heilige Und Hunde. Gradually it builds and soon, Gloria are heading towards anthem territory. Hooks haven’t been rationed, as the song becomes a rhythmic and emotive roller coaster. By then, it’s hard to believe that Geister is only Gloria’s sophomore album. They sound much more assured than many bands who’ve only released one album. That continues to be the case.
Gloria are fortunate that they’ve three talented songwriters. They contribute lyrics that thoughtful and pensive. Soon, the listener is reflecting and ruminating. Especially on tracks like the piano lead Geister. It’s just like Heilige Und Hunde, in that it starts slowly and quickly builds. In the process, you’re captivated by Gloria’s ability to combine cerebral lyrics and subtle hooks. That continues throughout Geister.
Das, Was Passiert and Das Seil follow one after another. It’s as if Gloria are looking for, and need answers. Impassioned, searching and questioning vocals seek answers. On each song, Klaas sounds on the edge. There’s an element of desperation. It shines through on Schwaches Gift. This outpouring of emotion is akin to a cry for help. It’s powerful, emotive music. Sometimes, though, the darkness lifts.
Then on Neu Beginnen its all change. There’s a New Beginning. All of a sudden, there’s hope for the future. However, then on the melancholy sounding Kreis, it’s as if the darkness has descended and there’s no way out. Despite this sense of despair, Neu Beginnen is one of Geister’s highlights. It’s a beautiful, soul-baring song. So is Der Pilot, which is akin to a moving confessional. Without doubt, it’s another of Gloria’s finest moments.
Having just said that, the quality keeps on coming.The mid-tempo Haut is another anthemic sounding track. Then on the wistful sounding Ohne Träume, which closes Geister, Gloria burst into life and take the listener on a melodic musical journey. Sometimes, they sound like mid-period U2. Especially the guitars. However, there’s a sense of sadness in the vocal to Without Dreams. Just like so many of the songs Geister, Ohne Träume oozes emotion, and tugs at the listener’s heartstrings. That’s down to Klaas’ vocal and a trio of talented songwriters, whose career is blossoming.
Listening to Geister, it’s difficult to believe that this is just Gloria’s sophomore album. They’re a tight, talented and self-assured band. In a way, that’s not surprising. Two members of Gloria have been members of successful bands.
Mark Tavassol spent twelve years with Wir Sind Helden. Tim Schierenbeck was a member of The Splashdown when they recorded three albums. Both were experienced bands. This was good experience for Gloria, the bedroom band turned musical phenomenon. However, Klaas Heufer-Umlauf had been an actor and TV host. Now he’s added singer and songwriter to his CV.
Klaas Heufer-Umlauf seems to have grown into the role of frontman. He seems much more comfortable with his new role, as he brings the lyrics to life. Sometimes, it’s despair or sadness that’s required. Other times Klass has to empathise. Then occasionally, hope and joy shines through. Just like all vocalists, Klaas has to be a chameleon, bringing a variety of emotions to the table. He does this very well. Maybe his experience acting experience helps? Whether that’s the case, Gloria are a band with a big future ahead of them.
After releasing just two albums, Gloria’s star is in the ascendancy. They’re one of the rising stars of the German music scene. Geister, their recently released by Grönland Records marks a coming of age from Gloria.
For anyone who enjoys well-crafted, cerebral and emotive music then Geister is sure to appeal to them. It’s melancholy, pensive and reflective music. That’s not all. The music on Geister is also beautiful, sometimes hopeful and joyful. Geister is also awash with a plethora of hooks. They grab the listener’s attention, and soon they’re captivated. What follows is music that’s variously anthemic, melodic, contemplative, reflective and thought-provoking. Geister, which is Gloria’s latest and greatest album, is designed to make the listener think, and certainly does that.