On June 9th, English band Glass Animals will release their debut album, ZABA, for the world to hear. The unique sound that Glass Animals encompasses – said to be both indie rock and trip hop – is something I find incredibly refreshing, as well as one that is quite challenging to put into words (but don’t worry, I’ll try my best!). With fantastic beats and intriguing lyrics to boot, I absolutely encourage everyone to give Glass Animals’ ZABA a listen.
The stage is set for the rest of the album as soon as the first track “Flip,” begins to play. The almost tribal rhythm and zany electronic tones, combined with the repetitive nature of both words and beats alike, is incredibly hard not to sway your body or bob your head to. Playing evermore on the tribal feel, the end of “Black Mambo” and the beginning of “Pools” (they flow into one another, as many tracks do on ZABA) have jungle/rainforest sounds. A nice touch, in my opinion… but that is also my wanderlust talking.
A favorite amongst listeners, myself included, is “Gooey.” And if the title sounds interesting, just wait until you listen to the entire song. Drawing on a more electronica influence than some of the others on the album, as well as including more ambient tones, it becomes quite apparent why “Gooey” was one of the chosen singles from ZABA.
Sixth track, “Intruxx” – an entirely instrumental track – integrates a bit of acoustic guitar into the outerspace-like digital sounds, in a way that reminds me quite a bit of a song that could be found in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films. Think techno or electronica (I never know how to label them) plus spaghetti western-type guitar. It seems weird when described in writing, but it totally works musically in this case.
The most fascinating thing I noticed about ZABA is the varying sounds that can be heard track to track. Much of them play on the tribal and electronica sounds that I had mentioned before. But then there’s tracks like “Hazey,” whose intro and overall tone will remind you quite a bit of popular hip hop, but with tons of Glass Animals flair, of course. The song immediately following, called “Toes,” is even more surprising with its soulful sound reminiscent of American South jazz and blues (or maybe that’s just something I alone picked up on). Regardless, each song on ZABA encompasses a sound all it’s own while conserving the musical flavor that is Glass Animals. I often feel that electronica and techno bears the risk of potentially sounding like a bunch of noise to listeners; Glass Animals, however, passes my test and is truly anything but “noise.” It is a sometimes trippy but entirely captivating soundscape illustrating their artistry as musicians.
As I often search for on every album I listen to, “Cocoa Hooves” provided the so called “breather” of the album. This downtempo song is a lovely indie rock track that could really go without any comments from me, except to say it has a marvelous combination of ethereal, light tones while maintaining the consistency of Glass Animals’ definitive pulse. “JDNT” also provides a similar lightweight tone that eases you through the conclusion of ZABA.
Through 11 tracks of invigorating alternative tunes as diverse as the inspiration that spawned them (which apparently includes Yeezy himself, Kanye West, according to the Amazon description of the album), I believe the guys of Glass Animals and those that helped create the album can all give themselves a big pat on the back for a debut well done.
You can purchase a CD or buy concert tickets for Glass Animals here. Even better, the full album of ZABA is currently streaming along the bottom of their website as well. Go check it out!
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