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REVIEW: Glass Animals – How To Be a Human Being

How+To+Be+a+Human+Being.+Photo+via%3A+facebook.com%2Fglassanimals
How To Be a Human Being. Photo via: facebook.com/glassanimals

How To Be a Human Being. Photo via: facebook.com/glassanimals

How To Be a Human Being. Photo via: facebook.com/glassanimals

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The Band: Glass Animals is an Indie Rock band formed in Oxford, England in 2012.  They released their first album, Zaba, in 2014. After huge success with their first project, they embarked on a lengthy international tour. It was on this tour that frontman, Dave  Bayley, was inspired to create their new album, How To Be A Human Being.

The Album: While touring internationally, Bayley began to record conversations he had  with strangers. He noticed that people would open up to him and tell him stories they
wouldn’t tell to their closest friends. The stories he recorded ranged from uplifting to  downright disturbing. Each song on How To Be A Human Being is constructed around a  character inspired by real life people and their anecdotes. The song, “Season 2,
Episode 3” for example, is about someone who hangs around all day watching TV,
playing video games, and generally acting like a slob. The song is told from the
perspective of the character’s boyfriend, who initially finds these traits endearing but
eventually realizes that he can’t stand to watch her waste her life.

The Sound: To anyone familiar with the sound of previous Glass Animals tracks, you  will easily be able to appreciate their new project. For anyone else, it will be challenging
to describe. Glass Animals has one of the most unique and distinctive sounds in
modern music. Their psychedelic beats paired with a catchy chorus, and instruments
that you aren’t accustomed to hearing outside of African tribal music, equate to
something really remarkable. Glass Animals is able to further improve their unique
sound through their ability to audibly set the scene for the story. In “Season 2, Episode
3” many of the beats are meant to sound like old cartoons and video game sound
effects in order to further the image of the character as lazy.

Is It For Me?: The closest comparison to Glass Animals would be STRFKR, another  band famous for their psychedelia and outright strangeness. A similar sound and
intensity can be found in other Indie Rock/Pop bands like Alt­J or CHVRCHES. Fans of any
of these groups will surely appreciate the distinctive sound of Glass Animals.

Final thoughts: With the enormous success of Zaba, their debut album, I was worried that it would be difficult for the band to make their second album as good, let alone
better. Against the odds, however, that’s exactly what they’ve accomplished. For such a
new band, being able to put out two records of this caliber in only four years is  extremely impressive. Every song on How To Be A Human Being  is worthy of being a single, and personally, I can’t even pick favorites among them. This is one of the finest albums of 2016, and one of my favorite albums of all time.  9.5/10

 

Glass Animals will be performing at the Riverside Theatre in Milwaukee on Wednesday, October 5th at 8 pm. I’ll see you there!

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