So if you’ve been listening to prime time, day time radio over the past couple of months, hanging around amongst the ongoing, stomach churning mediocrity of contemporary dance and electro, plus the extensive force feeding of acts like Drake, Fetty Wap & Rihanna, you may have noticed one new name bouncing merrily around the airwaves and that being Oxford four piece, Glass Animals. Wikipedia refers to their genre style as indietronica… I’ve never heard of that in my life so I’m going to mention it and move on immediately, but whatever they’d be labelled as it’s pretty fresh stuff, it’s kind of sexy and so far, all their recent single releases have been shown plenty of love.
There’s a chance you’d have come across their hit from 2014 called ‘Gooey’, featured on their debut album, but I must hold my hands up and say I missed it entirely and believe it did well in the US and not so great here. What you may not know however is that their brand new album, ‘How To Be A Human Being’ is not even their first and in fact it’s their second LP so far, plus they’ve released two EP’s in their time on top of that. Kicking things off back in 2012 and subsequently releasing their first album two years after, managing to sell around 140,000 copies, a new formula must have been thrown together afterwards and it certainly worked as they’ve had ears on them ever since they got back.
‘How To Be A Human Being’ was released late August and you must have been living under some sort of rock or have a phone contract on 3 if you haven’t heard tracks like ‘Life Itself’ and ‘Youth’ and most recently, the bizarrely titled ‘Season 2 Episode 3’, especially bizarre as it really ought to be ‘Series 2 Episode 3’ considering none of us here are actually American, but hey potato-tomato etc.
The idea behind the album appears to be that it’s a concept based on real interactions with human kind whilst on their travels and constant touring. It must be said, ‘Life Itself’ is an absolute highlight of the record and it’s no wonder that the responsibility of not only reintroducing the band back into the music scene, but also introducing themselves entirely to a lot of the world. It’s a sexy blend of alternative R&B with a subtle but danceable rhythm, even bordering an alternative indie feel similar to that of Foster the people or Bombay Bicycle Club all wrapped up in a hip hop inspired blanket of musical loveliness. Dave Bayley’s leading vocals are sharp, cool and are delivered in a way that represents the tone and idea behind the track. It feels like a lot of time and effort has carefully been put into the production of the album, to create more than just another record, but a story and a manuscript of their time as the Glass Animals outfit we may all very soon fall in love with. Another stand out or me was the endlessly cool ‘Cane Shuga’ sounding like it was lending inspiration from Everything Everything and Alt-J. The whole album features great synths and trippy beats, blended with beautifully arranged vocals, becoming a really fine piece of work, hopefully appealing to most music fans. As mentioned before, it borrows from most genres and styles, and uses all elements as effectively as I could ever expect.
As a side-note, the track titles are brilliant and if life (itself) wasn’t so easy and accessible as it now is and has been for years, people would still partake regularly in digging around at CD stores and record shops and would no doubt feel an overwhelming need to hear ‘How to be a Human Being’ after seeing track titles like ‘[Premade Sandwiches]’ and ‘Pork Soda’.
I know a younger me certainly would have done. “A younger me”…Oh I’m sad now.
Words by Stuart Green (@mojo20_music)