Summarized in 1 word: Menacing.
Released in June of 2014, Glass Animals’ debut album Zaba is an extraordinary trip into a world of noise. Friends since age 14, these four musicians from Oxford formed Glass Animals in 2013 and in less than two years got their debut album peaking at number 12 on the Australian albums chart.
The album has a very distinct sound that reminds me of a more intimidating, groovy Muse. Lead vocalist Dave Bayley is a man of many tricks with an absolutely menacing voice; whispering wicked, nonsensical lyrics over delicate rhythms that grow into thumping beats. Zaba has an array of sounds that really make the experience unique. Hazy vocals, tribal beats, and background sounds of nature make listening to it is like traveling through a smoky jungle.
The nonsense lyrics have a definite darkness to them and are intriguing to attempt to decipher. References from pooh bear and ‘peanut butter vibes’, all the way to conversations between sloths and moles.
The Deluxe version of the album contains three bonus tracks including a fantastic adaptation of Kanye West’s ‘Love Lockdown’, which fits with the rest of the album so naturally and really adds to the album experience. The deluxe version also includes two remixes of ‘Pools’, which are decent in the sense that they neither contribute nor take away from the album. ‘Pools’ is so exceptional that it’s difficult to make a remix that doesn’t do the song justice, but these two remixes certainly aren’t better than the original and not beneficial to the album as a whole. The two are still worth a listen though.
There’s a definite aura of solitude and looming murkiness throughout the album. Although I gave nearly every song on the album a 4 out of 5 stars or higher, I can see how one might feel that the album sounds too similar throughout. Glass animals has a very fresh sound that I am not yet tired of, but I am eager to watch how their sound evolves and diversifies by their next album. Zaba is a highly recommended piece of art and I’m surprised it hasn’t reach higher on music charts around the world.