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Album Review: Glass Animals – ZABA

2 min read

Oxford based four-piece Glass Animals have released their debut album ZABA. The album was recorded at Wolf Tone Studios in London, and produced (under the supervision of super-producer Paul Epworth) by the Animals frontman himself, Dave Bayley. It was Bayley who turned Glass Animals from a bedroom project into the four-piece they are now, enlisting the help of three long time friends to take proceedings to the next level. After the release of the Leaflings EP back in 2012, ZABA is the next logical step for a band steadily planting their roots in experimental music.

Glass Animals - ZABAZABA is a record that that almost seems a little complicated, no matter how laid back it appears on first listen. It is complexly put together, built in layers, sound by sound, second by second. Frontman Bayley is a student of neuroscience, so this delicate approach to his musical craft may not come of much a surprise. ZABA includes an array of materials that build this album into the psychedelic, groovy and atmospheric listening experience that it is.

ZABA opens up with Flip in what could be seen as a sort of pots and pans drum kit sequence before opening up into sparse jungle rhythms with an ethereal outlook. It’s a good introduction of what’s to come. Single Gooey is the staple of what Glass Animals are about. An electro beat loaded with ‘weird’ pops and beeps here and there is backed up by layers of whispering vocals. It often shifts vibe when an electric piano enters the scene and leaves us in an almost underwater setting. Its clever and an interesting approach to creating a soundscape. Other very listenable tunes include Hazey and album closer JNDT. The former being a more upbeat, extremely atmospheric number, giving you the ability to lose yourself in Bayleys musical world, while the latter is where you will hear the doctor-like approach to connecting sounds and symphonies. Its clever, there’s no doubting that.

The only problem comes when you find yourself so chilled out you start to get agitated, like sitting in a bath for too long and seeing your skin begin to wrinkle. For the neutral listener there needs to be more ‘get up and go’, as at times when you aren’t paying attention, the music can fade to the background. It does take some concentration to really appreciate the music and become aware of the bands ideas. Never the less, it is an album that mixes genres, and does so quite well. That electro-indie-pop sound comes easily to Bayley and intent listeners will more than likely reap the rewards.