Thursday, 10 July 2014

Review: Glass Animals for Amazing Radio

Live Review: Glass Animals


Amazing Radio favourites Glass Animals swung by Newcastle last week on the Northern leg of their headline tour, but not before popping into Amazing Towers to speak to Amazing Afternoons with Greg Porter. As one of the first bands to be signed to Grammy award-winning producer Paul Epworth’s Wolf Tone label, we’ll go out on a limb and pre-empt that Glass Animals‘ debut album Zaba will reap the benefits of Epworth’s midas touch before festival season is up. He’s previously cast his spell on records by Adele, Florence and The Machine and Paul McCartney to name a few.

The album’s primitive sounds are delicately translated onstage by Glass Animals‘ four members: the warming ripples of clunky synth and chilling lilt of Dave Bayley‘s breathy vocals paint a tropical forest ambience. Dave’s leafy t-shirt even subtly echoed Zaba‘s Henri Rousseau like artwork. The jungle-esque sound bites and ultrasonic whistles during Exxus could have the potential to be gimmicky, but whether it’s the result of Epworth’s production or the evident creativity of the band, the other-worldly sound is perfect for live performances.

Andy Sheppard – Getty Images

The band’s stage presence is without fuss: there are no charming anecdotes or insincere compliments about the city. Dave transforms from his polite and unassuming interview manner a few hours previous to a self-possessed and utterly pitch-perfect frontman, with a voice I’d wrongly assumed was the result of layers of production. Drummer Joe’s use of the loop pedal to create the tribal multi-layered percussion on the Amazing Radio playlisted track Pools was stunning, an upbeat contrast to the hypnotic harmonies of the chilling Psylla, leading into the nonsensical ditties and groovy squeaks of this year’s earlier single Gooey.

Glass Animals have drawn fairly universal comparisons to Wild Beasts, Alt-J and earlyRadiohead, (they played their first gig at The Jericho Tavern in Oxford, the same place asRadiohead did in ’86) presumably owing to their inventive synth-backed arrangements. It’s the enticing early noughties RnB sound of Black Mambo which unveils yet more diverse influence, weaving a seductive undertone throughout.

The only disappointment was that the setlist didn’t include their Kanye West cover of Love Lockdown, which they treated the BBC Introducing stage to at Glastonbury Festival last week. With Zaba under their belts and some incredibly strong singles and EPs, they’ll be creeping up towards the main stages by this time next year. Catch them at Bestival,Latitude, Beacons and Knee Deep as well as on an extensive North American tour. Full details can be found on their website.

glass animals album promo

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