ALBUM REVIEW: "dreamland," the third studio album from glass animals
Glass Animals are back with their highly anticipated 3rd album Dreamland that has a very apparent hip hop aesthetic, with all the whistles and bells every beat maker would love. Having previously released Zaba (2014) and How to Be a Human Being (2016), Dreamland is their very first autobiographical album. In recent interviews, frontman, songwriter, and producer Dave Bayley has stated that he hadn’t planned to make an autobiographical third album, but here it is after 4 years, breathtakingly beautiful in its own way.
The album starts off with title track, “Dreamland,” which I like to refer to as the table of contents of the album, giving us an inside look on some of the topics that Bayley will cover on the rest of the album. Bayley’s falsetto voice perfectly intertwines with the sweet-sounding piano where he asks questions in his lyrics such as, “You go ask your questions like, “What makes a man?”
Then we have “Tangerine” with its heavy bass, airy keyboards, re-pitched voice, and a touch of programed drummers. This track gives off summer festival feels, alongside a mention of Mr. Myagi from the classic film Karate Kid (1984). In an interview Bayley had stated that “Tangerine is about when someone you’ve known and loved for a long time beings to change for one reason or another, but you can still see those tangerine dots in their eyes from time to time, a glimmer of who they used to be.”
Next wup is “Hot Sugar” with car sounds, and spacious keyboard really sets the scene for “Hot Sugar”, another summertime festival track, and a musical minefield for Bayley and his rapping: “Bath time cool whip / Watermelon juice kiss / Espirt gold rims / Skin so sun-licked.” Immediately following is “Space Ghost Coast To Coast,” a song about a childhood friend Bayley had who brought a gun to school, Ed Irwin-Singer’s bass riffs playing over percussion. This track gathers a lot of momentum due to the lyrics and Bayley’s vocals. The incredible rhyming of the track really brings it together: “gotta be all that coco, any? / playin’ too much of that GTA / playin too much of that Dr. Dre / Doom, quake, where’d you get the fun from, eh?”
“Tokyo Drifting” is next, originally released as a single in 2019 which features whiplashed lyrics from rapper Denzel Curry. The best part of this track is beats and samples from from marital art films. “Melon and the Coconut” is my favorite song on he album, with psychedelic guitar and keys, the perfect blend. Next we have “Your Love (Dèja Vu)” which was originally released as a single this year. This track contains the perfect amount of horn like synths with lyrics such as “Too far from over you / Beams from your M2 / Are blowin’ through my room.”
Now we have “Waterfalls Coming Out Your Mouth,” which mentions of OutKast’s album Aquemini (1998), with reminiscing lyrics that mention Scooby-Doo, push pops (my favorite growing up), Fruit Loops, and one of the best game shows - The Price is Right. “It’s All So Incredibly Loud” is a track I can relate to, and I believe most people can too. In an interview Bayley stated that this song is about “the three seconds between you saying it, and then there’s that silence - but it’s also the loudest thing that’s ever happened in your life.” This track features heart wrenching and honest lyrics such as “Super silence in the quiet, eye inside the storm / Water from your broken iris fell toward the floor / Everything waiting, shakin’ as it drops / I tried for you and I, for too hard, for too long.”
“Domestic Bliss” focuses on a woman experiencing domestic abuse that is carried with dreary string sections, “He squeezin you, blame-blamin you / Mama just usin her red perfume.” “Heat Wave” is up next, this track more stripped down and more mellow, but of course with the signature heavy bass. On Twitter, Bayley said this song is about realizing you can’t make everyone happy, and that it’s ok to be defeated by something. The final track on the album is “Helium”; with poetic lyrics, this track is the perfect one to close Dreamland. With Bayley’s honey soaked vocals built on an ethereal tone, and a simple clean guitar riff and pop like vocals that echo before it fades into the melody of “Dreamland." In between the tracks on the album there are interludes from home movies featuring little baby Bayley and his mom. These interludes consist of sounds, samples, and conversations.