Album review: How To Be A Human Being

glass animals album is rockin! it's makin me ear move!

glass animals album is rockin! it’s makin me ear move!

Alex Mohr / feature writer

Indie rock/psych-pop group Glass Animals has put out a solid project in How To Be A Human Being, which is the band’s second studio album. Its 2016 release follows 2014’s Zaba and the band’s first EP, Leaflings, which was announced in 2012. The band has kept true to its psychedelic, ambient, tropical tunes, with HTBAHB standing out as the group’s best work so far.

The sophomore record was written differently compared to the group’s first two projects. Frontman Dave Bayley started with the lyrics instead of starting with the sound first, something the band did on Zaba. The structure of the album is unique — every single song entails a story about a fictional character that Bayley created.

Such characters were formed from Bayley’s travels around the world when the band was on tour. He found inspiration from the people he talked to, and he would secretly record stories from the intriguing individuals he met.

“I started recording things that they said,” Bayley said in an interview with Creative Review. “People would tell you these amazing stories; everything from really heartbreaking stuff to hilarious things, disgusting things, whatever. My memory is terrible, so I tried to record them all on my phone – then I sat back and listened to all of these stories and started thinking about the way that people tell stories and what that means about them as people; what they might have embellished, what they might have left out and what that says about their life.”

“We recorded all of these people, had all of these stories, and then that inspired writing new characters — making new characters basically. And some were quite autobiographical,” Bayley said when talking to The AU Review.

This would lead him down the path of character creation. He constructed 11 fictional characters with their own stories, their own feelings, their own trials and tribulations, their own emotions. These characters were then created in a real sense and then and arranged in the band’s album art, which displays the eccentric individuals standing and sitting alongside one another in a very 70s aesthetic.

This album is full of unique tracks to correlate with the unique characters. From “Life Itself,” a bubbly, exotic tune, to “Cane Shuga,” a track with a clear hip-hop influence (it was a leftover beat from the Glass Animals x Joey Bada$$ collaboration), this album is a diverse project that is a must-listen. Morphing from Zaba, a dark, low-tempo record that sounded like it came straight from a tribe in the Amazon, How To Be A Human Being is an unparalleled sound that can never be replicated. 10/10.


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