Glass Animals – Dreamland
Glass Animals’ music ages like wine. Dreamland was absolutely worth the long wait.
Between their albums Zaba (2014) and How to be a Human Being (2016), the British band has experimented with their compositions across a range of musical genres. They’ve concocted intriguing fusions of synth-pop, psychedelia, early-noughties hip hop and RnB, electronica and ambient dance-pop, making each record capture a unique mood. Working on such an expansive canvas was a successful endeavor back then and it sounds even better four years later as their new release, Dreamland, broadens their artistic signature in small but meaningful ways. This album is exemplary of artists sticking to a working formula and refusing to capitulate to anyone besides themselves on how to tweak it.
Maybe their biggest key to success is their amplified use of drum machines and frontman Dave Bayley’s embrace of alter-ego Wavey Davey, which permits him to pen songs from a fresh perspective about the things he would have otherwise strayed from, such as the hard, drug-fuelled partying chronicled in first single Tokyo Drifting. “Disco dust hits your nose like a rocket”, he proclaims over the booming beat driven by synth-horns and trap drums, shortly before rapper Denzel Curry puts his stamp on the record with his machine-gun flow in Dreamland’s only guest vocal track.
There are a few songs, such as Space Ghost Coast to Coast, in which Dave adopts a steady Eminem-like flow over a Pharrell-type beat, and the Timbaland-esque Your Love (Deja Vu) has good potential for a feature verse. But it’s a testament to the vocalist’s strength that he can carry the songs entirely with his own voice. His performance is never better than in the closer Helium Melloness, a deeply moving record in which the crooner’s heartbreak is palpable through the touching acoustics that accompany his emotional odyssey.
The production is so enamouring, overwhelmingly so at times, that it’ll take more than a few complete spins to absorb the lyrical subtext. Full of nuance as Dave zips from Wavey Davey to his most vulnerable self (“Heartbreak was never so loud”), it’s evidently a stark journey of introspection that stirs complex feelings. In between the songs are intimate home movie skits, but they don’t really register in the grand scheme of things.
Photo: Glass Animals
Dreamland is released on 7th August 2020. For further information or to order the album visit Glass Animals’ website here.
Watch the video for It’s All so Incredibly Loud here: