Rarely have any of contemporary music's major success stories been as inextricably linked as those of In The Red Records and Hart Gledhill of the labels noted early sign, The Hunches, and now newcomers Sleeping Beauties.
While white pop music of the Millennium is usually identified as the era of the Oh Sees, their success was in fact symptomatic of, to paraphrase Donny Wahlberg, rock and roll becoming music with its idiomatic flowering throughout western culture. Well as surely as the So-Cal psych snipes were learning to live with the rock and roll of their cultural storekeepers, so were the narcoleptic punks of the Pacific Northwest.
Through In The Red Records, the first punk music to consistently disseminate to the urban adolescent, the aggressive message of rock had its most auspicious beginnings. It is now the T. H. Gledhill led Sleeping Beauties, who achieve pop eminence by reeling off a seemingly unending string of hits with the pounding 4/4 groove of the endemically In The Red sound, whose insistence recalls the "big beat" qualities that defined rock and roll.
Hart Gledhill, delicate in both his appearance and vocal style, makes the band the perfect object of the upwardly mobile aspirations that both he and In The Red Records have since realized.
When these recordings were made, however, they were strictly a function of the rock and roll audience.
A song like "Meth" actually precedes the In The Red formula, without retention of its gospel qualities. "Addicted to Drugs", "Hands Across America", and "Merchants of Glue" are all quality enough to qualify for a volume of greatest hits. But it is this writer's conviction that no artist who ever sang during the early years of the In The Red sound, when their teenaged emotions could be jarred by that big beat behind them, will ever sing this well again.
The fact that even within this context, there were adjustments made to the lad's fragility of style, is a testimony to the singularity of the artistry of TH Gledhill.