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Glass Animals - Dreamland

On Friday, Glass Animals released their third album, Dreamland. After my first listen through I thought the name given to this album was very apt. It is very much like one long dream. This electronic indie/pop group has really kept with the times, with their modern trap beats and fresh synth sounds. The album gives a sugary sweet vibe. Hot summer nights, tropical weather and palm trees come to mind when listening. But this album wasn’t just a frivolous, easy listen. The lyrics on some of the songs discuss more serious issues, lead singer and songwriter Dave Bayley reveals some of his deeper feelings and rough experiences.

Dreamland is very much the intro song to this album. It sets the stage, being very dreamy and very on brand for Glass Animals. It has a kind of lullaby vibe to it as it starts with just the melody and vocals, the build-up is gradual to the middle of the song where the bass and drums eventually kick in. You’re gradually brought into the Dreamland, just like you gradually drift off to sleep. The lyrics are interesting, they sort of explain Dave’s feelings and why he chose to write the album. He also opens up about growing up in Texas and sings about how that affected him, a line in this song refers to his childhood friend bringing a gun to school. That’s an event he’s spoken about in the past, but he sees to really open up in this album.

Tangerine has a contrasting upbeat feel. This song introduces the trap pop vibe that carries through the entire album. I’d say this is a new style for the band, but their trademark synth melodies and Dave’s voice ensure this album is unmistakably glass animals. It’s a cool song.

Next up is Hot Sugar. This kind of reminds me of an Ariana Grande song (from the thank u, next album). The singing style and beat give it that light sweet vibe that’s very pop. I interpreted this song as being about materialism and how it’s overrated, additionally perhaps how models and influencers are looked up to but not necessarily liked. The mini drop in the middle leads to a fun guitar solo and the song overall is a chill pop song.

Okay so Space Ghost Coast To Coast has got to be one of my favourite titles. The melody is cool and again so different with the hip-hop vibes. These songs have a lot of different sounds so far. This song is about Dave growing up and again he writes about his childhood is Texas.

Now for a very trap style song. Tokyo Drifting was one of their first singles and honestly it took me off guard. But I loved it instantly; “Wavey Davey’s on fire” is an iconic lyric. This has a long build up followed by a big drop – if that’s your thing you’ll enjoy it. Denzel Curry has a rap feature on the song, he’s a respected artist who is very good at what he does and therefore adds a new dimension to the song. This is definitely a fun song, upbeat lyrics and tune. I can see it working well on a party playlist.

This next song is very different. Melon And The Coconut brings us back to the dreamy feel, but with heavily auto-tuned Dave which is a new sound for them. I feel like he’s invented a new guitar sound for his solos that he drops in on a few of these songs. This has got to be one of the stranger songs, lyrically. But there’s a message in there too. I think it’s meant to be a lighter hearted way of talking about insecurities and having second thoughts. Another thing Glass Animals have done in previous albums but maybe not as introspective as they do here.

Your Love (Déjà Vu), I absolutely love this one. This was another single and honestly this song will get stuck in your head for the rest of the year. It’s a classic Glass Animals sounding song that is an instant classic bop and I cannot wait to hear this live. It’s really hard not to dance to this one, its great fun.

Waterfalls Coming Out Your Mouth is a weird song. When I started listening, I didn’t know quite what to make of this one. It starts off quite silly but actually has more meaning in the second half and gets quite intense. I think that’s something that makes you keep listening to the band though, it’s intriguing and not something you’ve necessarily heard before but it really adds to the overall vibe and feel that the band want on their albums.

It’s All So Incredibly Loud was the last single to be released and is nothing like the rest of the album. This one could be a Bond theme, with its long build up lasting the entire song to an epic climax. This song is one of the more serious songs of the album. The sound is rather different in this song, the drums and synth most noticeably. Just like every good film, this album has a serious plot twist halfway through. It’s another thing that keeps you listening.

This next song is called Domestic Bliss and it carries a very heavy but very important topic. It talks about domestic violence, writing a song is an effective way to raise awareness. This song might help someone realise the situation they’re in or help someone get out of a dangerous or violent relationship/situation. Even if it’s a toxic relationship, it may help a few people. Talking about these issues is important and music is a great tool to spread awareness. It’s a beautiful sounding song, too and I think they’ve done it pretty well. (Elin here, I just wanted to say that when I first heard this song I was speechless, the topic is such a heavy but important one to cover and I think that the chorus of the song is beautiful but really captures the gravity of the situation. I will leave some links at the end of the article for helplines if you feel like you need them. Thanks.)

Now, Heatwaves is a classic Glass Animals song. The music video is very fun, filmed with Dave’s neighbours during lockdown. The chorus is constantly stuck in my head, this is a hundred percent the catchiest song on the album. This is a much lighter song, topically than the previous. I feel like this song sums up this album; a bit of dreaminess, trap beats and excellent lyrics, which has always been true for Glass Animals. There are also remixes of this song by Diplo and by Shakur Ahmad, who won a competition and is the band’s favourite remix that was entered, a great way to interact with fans.

Now we get to the final song on this album, Helium, which has closing credits vibes to it and a wobbly guitar. The uplifting sound to this song is very in keeping with its title. The song then morphs into the very first song of the album, coming full circle. It’s as if we are exiting the Dreamland and being brought back into reality.

Between some songs there are little interludes. They are what make the album feel like one continuous dream, they are ambient with background voices and they definitely add something to the album. This album has been an experience, and I really liked it. It won’t be for everyone, but their music has always been ‘not for everyone’. Glass Animals have always been a bit weird and off the wall but have always made great sounding songs, too. Their lyrics often have a deeper meaning but can also be enjoyed at surface level.

I have to add that the whole aesthetic concept with Dreamland is really cool. They’ve really payed attention to detail when it comes to album art and the huge range of merchandise they’ve released including cassette tapes, glow in the dark t-shirts and augmented reality filters that work with the cover art. They’ve gone all out for the nostalgic vibe and it’s very unique and fun and quite uplifting.

How To Be A Human Being, their previous album is one if my all-time favourite albums for me personally, so I went in expecting to like Dreamland slightly less. But for me Dreamland still does deliver, they went for something a bit different and I think they did pull it off. There’re a few different styles going on here, but I don’t think there’s a bad song on this album. Glass Animals did set the bar extremely high for themselves after How To Be A Human Being and even ZABA, their first album. I will say this: Dreamland is unmistakably and unapologetically a very Glass Animals album.

Favourites: Your Love (Déjà vu), It’s All So Incredibly Loud

Thanks, Anya.

Hello everyone, Elin here. I just wanted to add a quick message to the end of this post as I’ve been listening to this album a lot since its release too. I completely agree with what Anya has said in her article, and we both agree that it might take a few listens to get the album so please don’t dismiss it straight away. How To Be A Human Being was always going to be hard to top, for me that album has become one of my all-time favourites and it got me to look at music in a different way. That being said, Dreamland has so many good songs on it, I think it takes longer to get into the album but that pays off at the end. The second half of the album to me is incredible, and some of the messages and issues this album bring forward are very important but scary. It leaves you to think a lot.

This is the first time Dave Bayley has written more introspectively and that comes across clearly in the song writing. A lot happened for Glass Animals between these two albums, most notably that drummer Joe Seaward was involved in an accident while riding his bike that meant he had to re learn how to walk and talk again, let alone play drums and record an album. I think it’s completely incredible what the band have achieved on this album cycle so far and it’s only just beginning.

If you haven’t heard of Glass Animals before then I urge you to give them a listen, even if it doesn’t seem like something you would usually listen to.

Elin’s Favourites: Dreamland, Tangerine, Your Love (Déjà Vu), It’s All So Incredibly Loud, Domestic Bliss, Heat Waves, Helium.

Listen to Dreamland on Spotify here.

Follow Glass Animals on Instagram here.

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