Whenever I listened to Glass Animals’ last album, “Zaba,” it would be with a certain type of enthusiasm. It made me want to dance, but more of just a little head bobbing type of dance. This was not, however, the first album that I have enjoyed by them. I have always liked Glass Animals and their distinctive, smooth, indie-yet-electric and eclectic style. “Zaba” turned heads after receiving 200 million streams on Spotify and selling half a million albums, but not many people I talk to know who Glass Animals is.
“How To Be A Human Being” will give these four musicians from Oxford, England the big break they have been awaiting. It not only makes me want to head bob but also to full-on break out in dance.
The sound of the album is dizzying, leaving your head spinning in a million different directions, but in the best way. The sci-fi synths mixed with indie rock music keep it interesting, leaving you itching to find out what track is coming next. It’s almost as if Tame Impala and Alt-J had a love child. There are even some hints of R&B and hip-hop. The use of flute on “Mama’s Gun” gave the track an effortlessly cool sound.
Glass Animals’ frontman David Bayley secretly recorded people’s stories during the Zaba tour. The former neuroscientist recorded these accounts for two years and used them to create character studies. In a way, the album is a giant collage of the individuals he spoke to. As you move through the album, you go from the story of a 20-something nerd still living in his parent’s basement on “Life Itself,” to a relationship between two stoners on “Season 2 Episode 3,” and finally to a murderous wife on “Mama’s Gun.”
It goes without saying that the stories the band tells on the album involve humor. Quirky lines such as “She said I look fat but I look fantastic” in “Life Itself,” “My girl eats mayonnaise from a jar when she’s getting blazed” in “Season 2 Episode 3,” and “Pineapples are in my head” in “Pork Soda” keep listeners intrigued. Even song titles such as “Take A Slice” and “[Premade Sandwiches]” tell us about the odd, ironic and extremely funny theme of this album.
The album starts off with a bang with its two single tracks, “Life Itself” and “Youth,” and it keeps building. Each track is candy to your ears. The more you hear, the more you want to keep listening. The album closes out with “Poplar St” and “Agnes,” two slower tracks on the record, that provide a deviation from their indie rock sound and truly bring the album around full circle.
There is something special going on with the imaginative “How To Be A Human Being,” and Glass Animals are like an aged cheese or a bottle of merlot: they just keep getting better with time.
Glass Animals is playing in Chicago at the Riviera Theatre (4746 N. Racine Ave.) on Oct. 6th on their How To Be A Human Being Tour. Tickets cost $33.