VINYL REVIEW: "How To Be A Human Being" (GLASS ANIMALS)
ALBUM TITLE: How To Be A Human Being ARTIST: Glass Animals VINYL STATUS: New Cards on the table - I've listened to this album over and over (and over) - and I'm still not quite certain that I officially know how to be a human being. But after picking up this vinyl at Laneway Fest a few weeks back I certainly feel adequately equipped to give it a red-hot go.
'How To Be A Human Being' marks the second release for offbeat dream merchants Glass Animals, and it certainly packs a proverbial punch - by now well known for their defiance to nail down a signature genre, the British four-piece flit freely between indie rock, psych pop and throw in a dash of R&B for good measure on their sophomore offering.
Opening with a muggy jungle beat for 'Life Itself', the album twists and turns through a real rabbit hole of genres including hi-hat hip-hop sorcery ('Season 2 Episode 3') and bombastic electronica (courtesy of the SAFIA-esque track 'The Other Side of Paradise').
It's a weird and whacky journey, and lead singer Dave Bayley takes the reigns like a kaleidoscopic chameleon, switching between wispy falsetto and heavier tones exploring the highs and lows of what it apparently takes to be a human these days. Bayley makes his home with his fellow band-mates between dizzying flutes ('Mama's Gun') and occasional reminiscent hooks (I could've sworn that 'Cane Shuga' was going to turn into a cover of Justin Timberlake's 'Cry Me a River') before a heart shattering textured finale ('Agnes'), with Bayley going on record saying it is "the saddest song I will ever write".
And if the album wasn't mysterious enough, each of the songs on the album relate to one of the characters featured on the album cover - but the band refuse to specify which song correlates to which character (for those playing at home, there are some hefty clues in their lyrics and music videos). And perhaps that's what makes Glass Animals so damn appealing, aside from their oddly alluring stage presence and their catchy-as-hell tunes; they don't ever push their own meaning on their listeners, instead insisting that your own interpretation of the song is just as valid as whatever the original meaning was.
This may be a stroke of genius, always keeping us coming back for more, pulling through each song with a fine-tooth comb until we think we've stumbled upon the true meaning. Or maybe you're just here for the plentiful beats, but all up there's one thing we can agree on: this is a band with their overly-smart head firmly on their shoulders, and if we're lucky we can expect a lot more magic from these boys in the very near future.
Why should you own it on vinyl? Mostly just to have a close-up view of the album cover so you can scratch your head and guess which song is about the oiled up dude in Speedos. And because with each listen, 'How To Be A Human Being' draws you into its weird universe and reveals buried secrets of yourself and humanity on every listen. (But if you're not into overthinking - it also has a pretty sweet looking label).
Catch a little glimpse of the boys below doing a live version of the track 'Pork Soda' from the album (#pineapplesareinmyhead):
LABEL: Wolf Tone Limited GENRE(S): Alternative/Indie Pop RELEASE DATE: August, 2016
BY TIANA SPETER