It Was All a Dream: Glass Animals Album Review
English psych-pop band Glass Animals released their third album "Dreamland" on August 7. Frontman Dave Bayley wrote and produced almost the whole album on his own. This album features more autobiographical lyrics than the other two albums by the band. It’s a walk-through of Bayley’s mind. When you listen to the entire thing, it feels like a dream.
The night before the album released, the band posted “Dreamland listening instructions.” With them, they suggest fans listen to the album alone, in the dark, and to “take three deep breaths” and “think back to the happiest moment you can remember from your childhood.” Suggesting to fans how they should experience the album adds a very personal element. You feel much more connected to the lyrics. This is the only way to listen to the album for the first time.
When you listen to "Dreamland," you know it’s a Glass Animals album. It’s their vibe and is similar to the other albums and music they have created in the past. On the other hand, the sound is so different and so fresh. Bayley completely created the 2020 version of Glass Animals; the same vibe but more powerful. They have stepped out of their comfort zone by adding some hip-hop and heavier EDM beats to their songs. With a feature from Denzel Curry, catchy and heartfelt lyrics, more personal elements, and sounds unheard of on any of their other songs, Glass Animals has really grown up on this album.
This is music that you have to hear live. Recording the album in 2019, the band thought they would be able to debut the album at Bonnaroo in 2020. That would have been the most perfect place for them to perform "Dreamland" - it’s Bonnaroo music. Tracks like “Space Ghost Coast to Coast” and “Tokyo Drifting” are what people go to Bonnaroo to see. They are both songs with heavy beat drops and even make me – a pop music lover – want to headbang.
The band brought all the vintage feels to the album with the '90s Windows inspired visuals and “home movie” interludes. The four interludes feature samples from the band members' old home videos – the clips from the videos can be seen when you play the tracks on Spotify. Bayley allows listeners to go deeper into his mind and really understand what the music means to him.
The album opens up to Bayley's own version of "Dreamland" and the memories he had when thinking about the happiest times in his childhood. Glass Animals has used the Spotify song visuals on this album better than any other artist I have seen before. Every track is different and has its own little '90s-PC-style room inspired by the song. It feels like you’re inside a video game moving from one level to the next. Band member Drew Macfarlane put together “DREAMLAND: The visual album,” which is a collection of Bayley’s old home movies all the way up to videos of the band's 2020 tour on an old-school VHS tape. All of the different visual elements of the album bring everything full circle. You can listen to the music and create your own "Dreamland," or you can watch the album and see the band's life and their "Dreamland."
Out of Glass Animals' older music, my favorite songs are the most personal ones, specifically “Agnes” from the band's second album, "How To Be A Human Being." Bayley shared with Independent that “Agnes” is about a friend who committed suicide and that the song opened the doors to "Dreamland." The album's lyrics are much more intimate than past songs and I can connect a lot more with the music. It has easily become my favorite Glass Animals album. "Dreamland" is an extremely unique album experience and is definitely what we needed in 2020. Bayley created a place for fans to escape to and get fully engulfed in nostalgia. The band opens up about their past while also showing off how far they have come with the new electric sound.
“But I love it when the light sits on you just right / Tiny tangerine speckles painted
in your eyes”