I thoroughly enjoy reviewing metal for this publication, but like to get out of my comfort zone every now and then to discover equally-impressive acts that are a different kind of pleasure to the ears. While Glass Animals has amassed a whopping 5 million concurrent monthly listeners on Spotify, I hadn’t heard of the group before a recent search. One watch of the new track “Dreamland” and I felt sublime thanks to its ethereal, out-of-this-world vibe. Today, I’m taking a look at the whole album, 16 tracks of Dreamland, which will hopefully captivate that song’s essence in other lights.
The record’s title track and opener, “Dreamland” captures several complex layers of moody, conscious (for lack of a better term) dreampop in a 3-minute exposition. Incredibly meta and satisfying, the song is accompanied by a one-shot video that took oodles of effort for a quarantined-apartment video, which gets a nice little behind-the-scenes look after it wraps up. “Tangerine” gives off shopping mall vibes in its sample, and sees its vocals delivered in almost an R&B sense.
There are a few brief interludes within Dreamland that are entitled “home movies,” serving as exceptionally-short segues between pieces, the first of which being “1994.” The next song, “Hot Sugar” presents a laid-back, melancholic tone that takes plenty of production risks to create a unique song, succeeding in doing so. “Space Ghost Coast to Coast” goes straight-up hip-hop and adds nice little percussive cues as a backbeat to the otherwise-lackadaisical vocals.
“Tokyo Drifting” has a noteworthy transition before rapper Denzel Curry features and goes considerably hard with a trumpet/heavy drum backing. “Melon and the Coconut” makes good use of the dreamy guitarwork, but the choice of an obtuse, unfocused solo near the end was frankly a bit off-putting. “Your Love (Deja Vu)” is more memorable with its strong bridge and recurring lick being especially pleasant on the ears.
Continuing with “Waterfalls Coming Out Your Mouth,” crass lyricism doesn’t manage to distract from the mystifying guitars and these vocals’ delivery. “It’s All So Incredibly Loud” starts off anything but, and capitalizes on excellent rising action to a solid climax. “Domestic Bliss” gets pretty sensual and personal in its lyrics, sure to reverberate with the emotional turmoil felt in relationships by tons of Glass Animals listeners.
“Heat Waves” is a track I got lost in, which could be the desired effect as it’s still enjoyable in this fashion (but makes it hard to dissect.) We wrap up with “Helium,” a great album closer with plenty of falsetto and a smooth sync into a reprise in the outro to channel some goosebumps.
While music like this isn’t typically my speed, I found Dreamland to be an enjoyable listen. The differentiation between songs was improved by the “home movie” transitions, and there was good variety from front to back, even if the more R&B/Hip-hop sections didn’t land with me. At the very least, the title track deserves recognition, and you’ll likely enjoy the rest if it’s up your alley.
A press copy of Dreamland was provided courtesy of StudioCDN.