Glass Animals Embraces Signature Funk in "How To Be A Human Being"


Glass Animals has New York concerts coming up September 28-29th and their signature sound is here to stay, even as unexpected lyrics provide the biggest surprise in their latest album.

The UK indie poppers followed up their debut hit "ZABA" with "How To Be A Human Being," a new album available to download and stream.

"ZABA" was the perfect soundtrack for a sensual jungle rave. Instrumentally, "How To Be A Human Being" could also be classified as "jungle rave" but lyrically it leaves the jungle and tells the stories of human beings. These stories are seemingly based on the band’s recent American tours where they met plenty of nut-cases and weirdos alike.

If Glass Animals dipped their toes into a lake of weirdness with "ZABA," "How To Be A Human Being" is a cannonball. Glass Animals are more confident in their funky style, boldly utilizing an array of foreign and strange musical tools, ranging from video game beeps and bops in “Season 2 Episode 3” to tribal sounding hand drums in “Life Itself” to Asian flutes in “Mama’s Gun."

Lead single off the album “Life Itself” is a good example of tight and groovy instrumentals that feature on the album. Glass Animals manages to combine funky elements with more familiar synths and guitars to create killer instrumentals for dancing. 

“Life Itself” also features one of the best lyrics of the album, “She said I look fat / but I look fantastic.” Frontman Dave Bailey delivers the line right before the first chorus of the album with so much spunk that you believe him. This body shaming woman is dead wrong and no, we do not believe her. Ya' look ripped Dave.

One disappointment with the album is that several of the choruses do not do justice to the powerful buildups in the verses. Songs like “Pork Soda” and “Mama’s Gun” contain sauntering verses which leave you craving a bombastic chorus or something with more of a kick—but we never get it. Bailey sings most of these choruses in a breathy, almost falsetto voice when the tracks seem to need a more powerful Johnny Cash-like delivery.

“The Other Side of Paradise” is one of the highlights of the record and may remind some of the single “Lose Control” they released a year ago with Brooklyn rapper Joey Bada$$. “The Other Side of Paradise” has a sick hip-hop-style beat featuring a grunted “hoo” and the swaggering chorus some other tracks in the album are lacking.

The finale of the album, “Agnes” is a bleak but beautiful song about the singer’s girl the “time you overdid the liquor / this time you pulled the f-----g trigger.” Despite the heartbreaking lyrics, the song has a surprisingly hopeful chorus that says, “And so it goes/ a choking rose back / to be reborn.”

Glass Animals distinguishes themselves from other indie rock groups by how they combine funky synths, hand drums and N64 sound affects in ways other groups seldom dabble. They have built upon their sound in "ZABA" without sounding identical and have produced a really killer album with "How to be a Human Being." Take a leap into the lake of weird with Glass Animals.

CultureCaleb TrouwborstComment