Monday, December 12, 2016

How to Be a Human Being | Glass Animals



Acting as a scrapbook of perspectives from different fictional characters that frontman Dave Bayley created while touring his band's debut album, Glass Animals' How to Be a Human Being is a whirlwind of a concept album that ties together each story with a thick forest of jungle beat and an eclectic palette of electronic jolts. In their respective appearances, each character sketch possesses Bayley; their physical manifestations leave only his voice behind to deliver their messages.

A collection of 10 distinct vignettes seems far stretched and poses a threat of overzealous creativity in theory, but it's ingenious when waxed with Glass Animals' brand of left-field lyricism and zany yet accessible production. Once some familiar beats and synths grab the typical synthpop listener's attention, common ground can be found between that listener and each character through dissection of their unorthodox life stories.

Over the driving beat of standout track "Life Itself," we learn that Bayley takes the form of a strange young man living on the fringes of society; on the eight-bit "Season 2 Episode 3," a stoner without aspiration; and within the madhouse of demented chords of "The Other Side of Paradise," a"hoop phenomenon" in the making. All of these characters act not as pieces of a whole cast, but rather as alienated neighbors who are entangled in the burdens of their own lives. Listeners, then, take the place of a god-like figure, peeking into the psyche of each community member – and it's a fascinating vantage point.

How to Be a Human Being is available now under Harvest Records.

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