Glass Animals are a band very much like alt-J in that both are English, both have complex musical arrangements, and both have lyrics that are almost unintelligible, making it nearly impossible for anyone to sing along to. Every one of their songs reminds me of R.E.M.’s “It’s The End Of The World” only because I can sing maybe four or five lines of each and the rest just confuses the hell out of me.
This is less a post about a single song and more about a whole album, as it would be a disservice to feature one without its proper context. Glass Animals’ debut album, “Zaba,” was released June 2014 and I’m kinda sorta pissed that it took me this long to listen.
It’s dishonest to say that I’m addicted to this album. Addiction suggests an abnormal appetite that needs to be sustained. Something that has a clear beginning, middle and end. “I was hooked on painkillers for two years before I went to rehab.” “Zaba” is the opposite of this. It’s beginning, middle, and end all at once. It’s the hypnosis wheel of albums, spinning in that never-ending circularity, drawing the listener in deeper so that you’re fixated, stuck in unblinking catatonia.
The fun part about “Zaba” is that you might not like it at first. I was unimpressed myself. But after a few listens, it worked its way into my consciousness. It was all over after that. I’ve logged 8 full listen-thrus and I haven’t wanted to listen to anything else. Much like a Quentin Tarantino movie, there’s plenty to uncover within each song.
Jungle sounds blend with spacey tones to create an otherworldly, out-of-body listening experience. All of this becomes actualized with the first single, “Gooey.” This song demands your full attention. But that doesn’t mean that it’s difficult. It opens with sleepy reverberations that transport you into another dimension. Bubbles of sound pop around you as whispery vocals lull you into a trance.
Each successive verse adds another layer of sound, which creates an immersive listening experience that makes Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound seem like a production style for ants. Instead, “Gooey” brings the listener into a 3-D sphere, a fully realized world of sound that’s hard to leave once you arrive.
Other artists with dense production (like Sufjan Stevens or MGMT) have similar styles, but where they’re overwrought and pretentious, “Zaba” is the opposite.
There’s not much else I can say about “Zaba” or “Gooey” without seeming like I’m being paid to promote the band. Listen to it, embrace it, love it. It’s infectious and brilliant and stop reading this sentence so you can go listen to it.