thu 24/09/2020

Album: Glass Animals - Dreamland | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Glass Animals - Dreamland

Album: Glass Animals - Dreamland

A woozy and familiar trip into surreal pop

It’s been a hell of a four years for Glass Animals since their last album How to Be a Human Being, from a well-deserved Mercury nomination to drummer Joe Seaward requiring neurosurgery after a near-fatal bicycle accident. But while Human Being was leap forward in writing and production, new release Dreamland is a more subtle development.

It’s been a hell of a four years for Glass Animals since their last album How to Be a Human Being, from a well-deserved Mercury nomination to drummer Joe Seaward requiring neurosurgery after a near-fatal bicycle accident. But while Human Being was leap forward in writing and production, new release Dreamland is a more subtle development. This is music designed to float on a sunlit pool to, though given lockdown restrictions, you may need to get creative with an air bed and your home lighting.

It’s an album that takes its title to heart, building hazy soundscapes punctuated with drum machines and home video samples. The sounds are heavily influenced by 2000s R&B and hip hop, which could sound inauthentic from a group that look like Nathan Barley extras. But the production is so playful and the lyrics so surreal, it’s easy to be charmed. “Your Love (Déjà Vu)” is driven by a locomotive rhythm that taps into the heartbeat, while “Tokyo Drifting” is a journey through trap beats and synthesized horns featuring Denzel Curry.

There’s a consistency in the orchestration and chord sequences that gives the album a sense of wholeness, but it does mean some tracks don’t stand out individually on the first or even fifth listen. Certain songs also ring familiar compared to their previous record, with “Space Ghost Coast to Coast”, “Waterfalls Coming Out of Your Mouth” and “Your Love (Déjà Vu)” sounding a lot like “Pork Soda”, “Other Side of Paradise” and “Youth” respectively. That’s not to say these new songs pale in comparison, but there’s a definite retread of sounds and moods.

Still, there’s still plenty to sink your teeth into. The hypnotic build of “It’s All Incredibly Loud” will no doubt be a spectacle when live shows return, and “Heat Waves” is already established as a luscious pop banger.

Lead singer/songwriter Dave Bayley has said this is a far more personal album, turning his pen to his own life for the first time. Interestingly, this isn’t obvious on first listen, possibly because the lyrics are still primarily in second and third person. What remains is their trademark surrealism, non-sensical portmanteaus of food and summer.

One senses this album was a bigger step for the band than it will be for the audience. It matches How to Be a Human Being in style and high points, if not quite variety or consistent quality. It may not convert unbelievers, but for fans, Dreamland is a continuation of a winning formula. And given the past few years, maybe that’s a victory in itself.

@OwenRichards91

There’s a consistency in the orchestration and chord sequences that gives the album a sense of wholeness

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Average: 4 (1 vote)

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