The name is cute: a mash-up of Glasgow, the band’s hometown, and Las Vegas, the American Oz. In the great tradition of British bands appropriating U.S. cultural touchstones, Glasvegas take these twin geographic signifiers and turn them into a whole different country that nevertheless feels familiar to anyone with knowledge of old Hollywood movies and the pre-Beatles Top 40. Rumor has it that Lisa Marie Presley was so taken with the Scottish quartet’s guitar-based “wall of sound” that she asked them to record with her. Such a story lends Glasvegas a retro cachet that may confuse the issue. Which Elvis comes to mind: the lean, leather-bedecked rocker or the sequined, fat Vegas fixture?
The music actually owes more to the Goffin-King, Mann-Weill school of postdoowop urban teen pop than it does to the King’s R&B or country-gospel stylings. Such an approach is perfect for the melodramatic stories that guitarist James Allan writes and sings — fathers skipping out on families, husbands guilt-stricken over infidelities. And while his full-on Scottish accent places them firmly in Glasgow, they make just as much sense in Vegas, which is probably why the group has earned so much incredible cross-border love over the past year.