Friday, August 21, 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: Glass Animals - Dreamland

Glass Animals were one of the most exciting bands in indie-rock when they first burst into the scene in 2014 with the album Zaba, which was one of the strongest debut albums of the last decade. I loved the quirky, atmospheric instrumentals paired with lead singer Dave Bayley's great vocal performances, going from smooth, layered falsettos to this deep, passionate crooning. Their next offering, How To Be Human Being, was even better. I think they worked out whatever kinks they had in the first album and perfected them. It was a lot more consistent and the production was a lot better. Songs like Pork Soda and The Other Side of Paradise are still in constant rotation for me. So going into this new album, I expected them to progress once more. In my opinion, the only way Glass Animals could go from How To Be Human Being was up. I also loved the teaser tracks to this album. From the sick synths and groove in Your Love (Deja VĂș) to the song Heat Waves which has the same vibe as that exactly. It sounds like something that would be playing on the radio as the sun sets on your back porch. So it's safe to say, my expectations were high for this album. But, wow, I've never had my expectations shattered so much by an album this year. 

Glass Animals Got Creative, Made It Through Quarantine and Ended ...
The band Glass Animals

I honestly don't know what Dave was trying to do with this album. Gone are the days of the super ethereal instrumentals and smooth vocal performances and gone are the days of Dave caring about lyrics, as so many verses on here are either ruined by the lackluster instrumentals or Dave's awful lyrics. And I understand that lyrics might never have been his strong suit, but come on, he wasn't even trying here. I can give this album some praise where it's due though. I like the opening title track with how it sets the mood, sort of gives us some background info into the project we're all listening to. The keyboards on the song are sort of dreamy, very woozy. I also really like the song Tangerine. I really dig the vocal harmonies on the song. I also really enjoy the pre-chorus bit with some synths sort of building in the background before the song goes back to really cool sub-bass and trap drum pattern. Tokyo Drifting, featuring Denzel Curry, is probably in the running for my favorite song on the project. The way the song is structured makes it feel like something off of a Gorillaz album with a slight pause between sung verses and a rap verse. The song is an absolute banger with a really sick drum beat and an interpolation of Denzel's voice in the intro. Dave flows surprisingly well on this song, almost like he's been rapping for a while now. It's not a cringey attempt and he doesn't fall on his face trying to rap. I absolutely love the transition from the first half of the song to the second with these horns coming out of nowhere and adding a ton of energy to the song before Denzel drops an absolute bomb of a verse to end the song. Many stank faces were hit listening to the song. 

I also really love the song It's All So Incredibly Loud. It seems to be the one song Dave actually cared about writing lyrics for, with Dave singing about the 3 incredibly loud seconds after you tell a person something that will really, really hurt them to hear, with Dave singing, "I'm breakin' down / Whispers would deafen me now / You don't make a sound / Heartbreak was never so loud." The instrumental leaves a little to be desired though. It's a slow build-up that just gets me more and more excited for a drop that never comes. 

So with these songs, I don't have much to complain about, but the bad songs on here are really rough. Melon and the Coconut is probably the worst song I've heard all year. No exaggeration. The song describes a melon and a coconut breaking up which sounds like a writing prompt in an 8th grade English class. The lyrics throughout the song are just horrendous with the last few lines in the song so bad, you can't help but laugh, with Dave, or, the melon saying, "Off-White Air Force Ones in boxes / You're a f*cking coconut, can't even put 'em on / Even if you could, you couldn't even pull 'em off." The guitar solo on this song sounds like Dave was playing along to another song. I usually don't try to say things like this next comment because I really respect the craft of making music, but I am 100% confident that I could write and record a better guitar solo in 1 take than the one that made it onto the album. There's also the song Waterfalls Coming Out Of Your Mouth, which, wow. This song has to be the peak of the landfill that this album is. The worst lyrics on the album, the worst instrumental, and the worst vocal performance, all in one song. From screaming "Big d*cks and big ol' t*tties on the sly," to the absolutely terrible rhymes later on in the song, with Dave singing, "Cheap booze, Pepsi Blue / You got bottles in from 2002 / Hot glue, vape juice / Hit undo, how the hell are you so cool." I really don't know what the goal of this song was and I do not see any appeal in it. 

So yeah, this album did not cross the bar I set for it. It barely crawls over the bar for that matter. And that sucks for me because I wanted to like this album. But when the singles are the only good songs on the album, it's pretty tough. The band has a lot of potential, and I'm well aware of what they're capable of. I'm not sure if there was pressure to have a new project out soon or if Dave just got too comfortable, but I really hope they turn it around whenever the next Glass Animals project comes out.

I would rate
By Glass Animals


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