Vivid lyricism, stunning world-building, incredibly thoughtful production, creative songwriting and catchy as hell choruses have defined Glass Animals’ sound since their 2014 debut album, Zaba and their dynamic follow-up, How To Be A Human Being, and their new album, Dreamland is no different. Spearheaded by some of frontman Dave Bayley’s strongest vocal work to date and easily some of the band’s best production yet, Dreamland is a sparkling third full-length that doesn’t just replicate the magic that they made with their first two albums, but tops it.
So what makes this album so special? The personal touch. While each song on How To Be A Human Being explored a different character throughout eleven dynamic songs, Dreamland finds Bayley looking inward and taking listeners on a journey from his childhood all the way to 2020, even including multiple sound-bites from Bayley’s home movies with his mother. Throughout the album, he addresses a series of fundamental issues from identity and memory to love, friendship and the untimely and abrupt end of relationships. Songs like “Melon and the Coconut” and “Helium” are heartbreaking and bittersweet, juxtaposed against dreamy instrumentals, meanwhile “Domestic Bliss” pulls no punches when facing the subject of violence and abusive relationships head-on.
It’s the little details that make the sonic journey on Dreamland special, like the panning audio in the title track as Bayley repeats, “all round round your head” or in “It’s All So Incredibly Loud” as the track gets louder and more intense with each repeat of the chorus, until it builds to a massive crescendo. The nostalgic lyrical content on “Space Ghost Coast To Coast” will take you back in time while songs like “Tokyo Drifting” and “Your Love (Deja Vu)” snap you right back to 2020. And the album isn’t without bangers, either. The second track, “Tangerine” will easily get stuck in your head, and if you’ve already heard “Heat Waves,” then you’ve probably had it on repeat for weeks now. “Waterfalls Coming Out Your Mouth,” which touches on the stupid things we say when trying to impress someone, is also a hidden gem that you’ll want to blast at full volume.
Not only is Dreamland a personal and vulnerable release for Bayley, but it is also filled with the band’s most dynamic material yet. Peppered with countless sounds, Dreamland draws influence from hip-hop beats on “Tokyo Drifting” and “Waterfalls Coming Out Your Mouth”, then explores dreamy, ambient sounds on songs like “Dreamland” and “Melon and the Coconut” and perfects the trippy brand of pop that the band does best on “Tangerine”, “Hot Sugar” and “Heat Waves” in a way that’ll make you glad that this album dropped before the summer came to an end. Dreamland will surely satisfy fans after a four year gap between albums while still pushing the band’s lyrical and sonic boundaries, making it well worth the wait.
LISTEN TO: “Tangerine” “Waterfalls Coming Out Your Mouth” and “Domestic Bliss”