AboutGlass Animals are an independently produced psychedelic pop band formed in Oxford, England in 2010. They have become known for their live shows, where they play re-worked, dance-heavy versions of their songs.
BAND MEMBERS: Dave Bayley - Lead singer/songwriter and producer Drew MacFarlane - guitar, keyboards, backing vocals Joe Seaward - drums, percussion Ed Irwin-Singer - bass guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Bayley wrote and produced all three Glass Animals albums.
The first album, Zaba released in 2014, spawned the single "Gooey", which peaked at #19 on the US Alt Rock charts and was also certified ARIA: Platinum, MC: Gold, and RIAA: Platinum.
Their second full album, How to Be a Human Being, received critical acclaim and won in two categories at the 2018 MPG Awards, as well as a spot on the Mercury Prize shortlist.
The third and most recent release, August 2020's Dreamland, is currently battling for the #1 new album release (presently sitting 2nd behind Taylor Swift), includes the single "Tokyo Drifting" which peaked at 7th on the US alternative charts. While that single proved a massive return to form, the question remained: how does a life-changing event form the basis of a new album? The answer lies here in this magical third record,
The road to its completion has been one marked by struggle and setbacks, though it's in overcoming these things that has left Dreamland with added emotional weight.
Bayley has been open about the genesis of the album. When a truck collided with Seaward as he was cycling in Ireland in 2018, Glass Animals pulled the plug on all their touring commitments to focus on Seaward's recovery.
"I was in the hospital and the future looked terribly bleak." he says. "I didn't know if he was going to make it."
Spending time ruminating and reflecting on the what ifs and the unknowns of the situation led Bayley to lean back on more memories from his upbringing and adulthood; some nostalgic, some painful, some meditative. What has resulted is an album based in the acceptance and embrace of vulnerability.
The release of Dreamland at this point of what has been a trash fire of a year also makes the album more impactful. 2020 has been unpredictable in its landing of some serious blows to life as we know it, however it's going to be in how we recover and find a way forward that really matters.
Blending a sense of wonderment with some very real and grounded inspiration isn't new territory for Glass Animals. 2016's How To Be A Human Being was a touchstone moment for Bayley as he moved into more experimental territory as songwriter and producer, while the band strengthened as a dynamic unit to bring those initial ideas to life.
With Dreamland, we see Bayley's talents galvanize as stirring images from his childhood, adolescence and now, adulthood, come to life - buoyed on by snapping hip-hop beats and nostalgic sounds that stem directly from the music he discovered growing up.
We can wonder what the third Glass Animals album would have sounded like had Seaward's accident not have happened, and had the onset of COVID-19 not thrown a spanner into the works. In its place, we might have gotten an album informed by what would have been some of the band's biggest life experiences yet on the road.
Would it have been as candid as Dreamland? Who knows.
This is an album born out of some pretty bleak times, delivered during some pretty bleak times but oddly enough, it's a fitting progression in the band's body of work. Instead of retreating and letting the negative sink in, the band pushed on and produced an album to stand by.
Their highest charting single so far has been "Life Itself", reaching #14 on the US Alt Rock chart.