Glass Animals – CANCELLED

Published on July 1st, 2018

Glass Animal by Pooneh Ghana

How many times have the British invaded America? From Beatlemania and the Stones,  on through Bowie, Elton John, the Spice Girls and Oasis, the Brits have been steady hitters of American ears since the mid-1960s. For Queen and Country, with the might of all-devouring ear worms, British popular music has done much to repay the influences it absorbed and shape the global musical landscape.

With the first and second invasions now known as musical eras, and the crux of an ambiguous third wave still resonating, how does a British band get ahead to make an impact? For Oxford’s Glass Animals, it is a matter of embracing the sensibilities and  technologies that really “pop” in today’s music climate.

Formed in 2010 by school chums Dave Bayley (vocals/guitar), Drew MacFarlane (guitar), Edmund Irwin-Singer (bass) and Joe Seaward (drums), Glass Animals boast a handful of charting singles, a pair of EPs, two full-lengths and, on top of that, a mobile video game: “S02E03.”

Part of a “digital first” marketing campaign for their 2016 sophomore album, “How To Be a Human Being,” the video game accompanied a wholesale digital recreation of the ephemera that used to surround physical releases — liner notes, clever cover art, lyrics sheets, etc. Like two negatives creating a positive, this inversion was an acknowledgement that the majority of the band’s fan base came from streaming on Spotify.

It’s a cheeky way of going about things, especially with the album’s mission statement. “How To Be a Human Being” presents an interesting conceptual possibility. There’s a bizarre sense of balance when taken as a complete experience. The album, inspired by the many people Glass Animals met on the road after touring for their first record, “Zaba,” is presented as a set of distinct personality sketches — a catalog of human experience, digitized for consumption.

In the two years since the release of “How to Be a Human Being,” one can’t help but wonder how the band will absorb and distill its latest encounters, and whether their impact on American listening might influence the course of pop music. Stay tuned. Download the game. Avoid the “deliciously dangerous” Mayo Monster at all costs.

CANCELLED: Glass Animals at the Fillmore in Miami Beach.

~ Abel Folgar

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