We’ve already given you a run-down of what Glass Animal’s third studio album was about to be when we reviewed its title track “Dreamland” back in May. We’ve gone in on the second single “Heat Waves” when it dropped in June, which we had to wait a few extra weeks for as front man Dave Bayley paid respects to the severity of the Black Lives Matter Movement. We already waited a few years before for new music, when the band took a hiatus to support the drummer Joe’s accident recovery, so this was no big deal, because we knew something big was coming. While we patiently awaited the process of this album’s release, Dave entertained us all through his Quarantine Covers (even a fun re-work of “Hotline Bling” with Arlo Parks) and fun interactive creative hubs allowing fans to play around with the album’s artwork inspiration parts and bits. Of course this all in addition to the album teaser released in March, “Your Love (Déjà Vu),” and “Tokyo Drifting,” a collaboration with Denzel Curry as well as the first song to be released by the band in almost three years (due to Joe’s accident.)
The band even released one final single from the album a week week ago as a last teaser before the album finally dropped this Friday. “It’s All So Incredibly Loud” was accompanied by a music video with its release, both of which describing and illustrating “only about three seconds of life,” Dave says on the band’s instagram. It’s about the moment you “have to say something to someone that [you] know is going to devastate them and change their life forever. It’s about the silence between those words leaving your mouth, and their reaction as those words register and the full weight rolls over them…until they say something back. It’s probably the most deafening thing I’ve ever experienced. The video is meant to be a physical representation of the build up before that and then the sudden explosion of quiet that seems to last forever.”
Alas, we have this wonderful piece of art for our ears to behold. “Dreamland” is a beautiful conglomeration of Dave Bayley’s personal memories and stories, from his home life growing up to the pain of a best friend going through a truly traumatic experience, and most importantly, heartbreak. Bayley has reminded everyone that there are several different types of heartbreak, and this album breaks them all down. Every song is intimate, raw, emotional, and a story being told from a very vulnerable place. Dave even included audio snippets from home videos of him and his mother from his early childhood. <3
Glass Animals’ first album ZABA had the sound scape of a psychedelic tropical jungle, and How To Be A Human Being was the collective stories of people Dave met while on the ZABA tour. Bayley used ZABA as an opportunity to develop and hone the skills required to create such a specific and special sound scape through experimental instrumentation and audio work. Through the process of writing How To Be A Human Being he learned how to tell and share stories through song. Now Dreamland is a manifestation of all the diligent work Bayley has put in to being able to fully articulate his own experience in this world, and it’s absolutely, stunningly, gorgeous.
Bayley created unique worlds around each of the band’s albums, and they are so vastly different from each other, something I truly admire about Dave as an artist. They get so into detail that the aesthetic cohesiveness for each album even comes down to the website animations, which speaks volumes to the creative imagination and sheer brilliance of this man. Everything he does is a masterpiece.
Okay, now for the music review… After all the singles released prior to the full album and the little home video audio snippets, we got seven new never-heard-before tracks: Tangerine, Hot Sugar, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Melon and the Coconut, Waterfalls Coming Out Your Mouth, Domestic Bliss and Helium. Here are our notes for a few of our favorites from the new songs:
Tangerine sports a crisp and upbeat light sound, which might make you think this is a happy song, but the lyrics explore a somber feeling of mourning the idea of who someone or a relationship used to be.
Space Ghost Coast to Coast is a haunting track, juxtaposing bits of childhood memorabilia in a sweet, innocent sense with the shocking news of a childhood friend attempting to plan a school shooting.
Melon and the Coconut has a raw feeling, very stripped and minimalistic, and serves as a perfect “b-sides” song for the very middle of the album. It’s about a melon and a coconut breaking up, alluding to a personal relationship of Bayley’s, we can assume, where he thought he would grow old with this person and they just didn’t think it was enough anymore.
Domestic Bliss is a pretty song, like it could be a soundtrack song with the musical composition of it. It touches on a dark subject though, a story told of an abusive relationship the mother of his childhood friend was in. With domestic violence rising so dramatically throughout lockdown, this is an important subject to talk about, now more than ever.
Dreamland showcases Dave Bayley’s romantic and poetic lyricism and imaginative instrumentation, and the last track “Helium” even ends with a dreamy outro reminiscent of the intro from the title track. From top to bottom “Dreamland” is a piece of art.
The band is doing a visual listening party for the album tomorrow (Sunday) at 2pm CST on YouTube, so tune in!
Thank you Dave for sharing the depths of your soul with us. Congratulations.