If ‘Zaba’ established the group’s knack for unshakable hooks, ‘How To Be A Human Being’ sees that reinvigorated.
Label: Caroline Records
Released: August 26th 2016
Venturing out of the jungle and onto familiar streets, Glass Animals’ second record is a far cry from the otherworldly nature of their debut. Each track the soundscape to a train of thought, the album is an intricately woven exploration of - you guessed it - ‘How To Be A Human Being’, Delve deep enough and the eleven tracks encapsulate everything from love, lust, and loss, through to outright peculiarity, all wrapped up in rhythms and grooves purpose made to keep the body moving.
If ‘Zaba’ established the group’s knack for unshakable hooks, ‘How To Be A Human Being’ sees that reinvigorated. Lead single ‘Life Itself’ wears it’s eccentricities with pride, grabbing listeners at the hips and swaying with a resounding confidence into the inscrutable nature of what makes us tick. ‘Pork Soda’ runs with a similar momentum, paralysed cries transformed into an instantly addictive chorus.
Take note of what’s being sung, and the whole record is deceptively dark. Whether it’s the haunted lament of ‘Mama’s Gun’ or the youthful reflections of ‘Poplar St’, the album runs with an undercurrent that verges on the sinister. The rising discord of ‘The Other Side Of Paradise’ meticulously depicts slow motion panic rising in the instant a bullet hits its target.
Lifting these intense narratives out of the shadow is the outfit’s characteristic brand of alt-pop. ‘Youth’ might be rooted somewhere in despair, but ringing with hope along breezy refrains whilst melodies sprawl in sun-kissed delight, the weight of the words couldn’t feel further away. Similarly, the lingering chorus cries of ‘Agnes’ land as if from the heavens, an instant anthem primed for stadium sized sing alongs. Bittersweet yet completely euphoric, the track embodies the dichotomy of everything this record is.
Shining a light behind the closed doors of everyday life, ‘How To Be A Human Being’ is an inwards exploration of the world that exists right in front of you every day. All you’ve got to do is open your eyes to it. Jessica Goodman