Breaking Glass could be considered a new band. After a fairly long hiatus they have reformed under a new moniker. They are a three piece made up of Izzi on drums, Makenzie on bass and Roxie on guitar and vocals. All female bands are rare in the male dominated rock world and bands of any gender that rock this hard are even rarer.
Full disclosure–this review was unsolicited because Izzi is a humble person and would not ask me to review one of her bands for her magazine. Second this review is very biased. Breaking Glass is my partner Roxie’s band. They practice at our house. I go to almost every gig they play. In fact their tunes are rumbling up through the floor from the practice room right now as I write this article. I’m forced to listen to them and they are still my favorite Cincy band. I’ve heard their songs more than anyone and I still love them.
Rock and Roll is how I met Roxie. I used to work at the Comet and they used to play there. Of course back then they were known as Buenos Crotches. When I first saw them I was totally blown away. I said to myself, “My God, that guitarist is like the reincarnation of D. Boone from The Minutemen.” Her energy and enthusiasm were amazing. When she wasn’t playing out she was up front cheering on other bands. I decided I had to know who that woman was and over five years later the rest is history.
Even before I knew them I thought they were a great band. One of their biggest selling points is musician ship. Izzi has been and is in several bands. I can’t keep up, but a short list includes: Birdie Hearse, Black Planet and Sour Ground. Izzi plays drums, bass, guitar and sings in her other bands. Makenzie played bass in the critically acclaimed Sundresses for years before this current project. Roxie was in The Jelly Hearts and currently plays drums for The Virginia Creepers. She’s played bass in a country band and also teaches guitar and piano. Few know this, but she also plays a mean blues harp. Not only did she teach me to play harmonica, but I can honestly say that my personal musicianship on bass and guitar has greatly improved since I started jamming with her. We share equipment, but when I pick up her guitar I can’t wrench the sounds she gets out of it even with the same settings and pedals. Jelly Hearts was a two piece and Rox has developed the ability to sound like two people playing at once. It reminds me of what Keith Richards once said about hearing Robert Johnson for the first time, “Who’s the other guitarist? What do you mean there’s only one guitarist?”
One of the things that makes this band is stage presence. They have a wonderful visual chemistry. Makenzie spins like a whirling dervish. I’ve tried to take live pictures of them and she is always a blur. I’ve already mentioned that Roxie is also usually in motion. She hops, contorts and kicks her legs out in a non-stop frenzy. They stand on either side of the stage with Izzi in the middle. While the other two go nuts, Izzi remains calm, cool and collected. She makes playing the drums look effortless and watching her play I’m usually reminded of Charlie Watts from The Stones.
Another aspect is Roxie’s singing and vocal phrasing. I recently picked up the first two Heartless Bastards records. I love that band, but when I listened to both albums back to back I was struck by how Erica stays in the same range and even seems to sing the same melody song after song. Roxie can croon, scream, and shout. She can be angelic or guttural and she always seems to do exactly what each song needs. Finally there’s the songwriting. Unlike other bands who play a set that’s basically the same song over and over, Breaking Glass mix up dynamics, tempos and genres over the course of a set. They can be soft and pretty like on “Take These Blues Away” which has a beautiful quiet part where Roxie whistles before building back to a blues explosion. They can pop punk like on “Stop” or they can shitkick like on “Country Song.” I listen to tons of music and I can’t think of any other band to compare them to except for them. They may sound like somebody for a few seconds during a verse, a chorus or a break, but that similarity is just one facet of the shiny diamond that is Breaking Glass.
They just recorded four new songs. The first one trash is available now at: https://breakingglassband.bandcamp.com/releases
FRANK B. POSPISIL