If you like your indie rock with a little sex appeal then I suggest giving Glass Animals’ debut album Zaba a listen. Hailing from Oxford England, this talented quartet once again proves that there is definitely something in the water up there. Zaba is both sensual and psychedelic. And while instantly ear-catching, there is much to be discovered in every song for those willing to explore and get lost for a little bit.
What I love most about the album is it’s distinct exotic vibe. Each song feels hot and sticky like a soundtrack for unwinding on a Thai beach. Take “Black Mambo” for example. It’s a sultry track with equally seductive lyrics. Lead singer Dave Bayley speaks in a drawl: “Take a backseat/ Play Pharaoh/ Dance with me/ And shake your bones.” “Black Mambo’s” subtle, but heavy bass makes for one sexy slow jam that keeps you on your toes. In “Psylla” Glass Animals embrace their otherworldly side. Bayley’s voice is a breathy come hither unravelling over pangs of bass drum and an unexpected xylophone lick. The combination of sounds is enough to make you actually consider slipping into something more comfortable. “Psylla” is a trippy experience that culminates into a rabbit hole of psychedelic guitar, dizzying echoes, and erupting percussion. It’s an understated song but just as uninhibited (maybe even more so) than the other tracks.
Glass Animals isn’t hiding their island influence in “Pools”. From it’s opening tropical timbre and jungle beats to it’s sing-along echoes, Glass Animals come alive in this song. It’s such a unique mix of sounds, and although it’s danceable, it’s build up is haunting and beautiful (reminiscent of Alt-J’s “Taro”).
“Pools” is a literal departure into the wild possibilities of Glass Animals’ sound and it’s exhilarating as a listener to be a part of. Essentially if every party I had ever been to played music like this, I probably wouldn’t have gone home early. This is a definite favorite of mine on the album. I appreciate the risk taken with the musical influences and I am a sucker for any song that makes me wish I was a better dancer. Who knew indie rock could do that?
The appropriately named “Gooey” is a perfect introductory track for any Glass Animals’ first listeners. It combines hints of sultry R&B with mellow dream pop and makes for one provocative and soulful tune. Gooey’s bassline is absolutely enticing and touches like strategically placed inhales, steamy synth, and honeyed vocals just add to its sensual listening experience.
Overall, Zaba is a complete and total trip (In more ways than one). And while I highly recommend being an active listener, it’s very easy to get sucked into its psychedelic jungle. And you know what? I don’t think I actually mind all that much.
Kasandra Martinez is a copywriter/blogger from Toronto who loves writing and covering hip-hop songs on her ukulele.
Check out some of her stuff at www.kasandrawrites.com