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ALBUM REVIEW: Going Off to ‘Dreamland’ with Glass Animals

Every so often, an album totally immerses you in its vision. Dreamland, the latest full-length release by indie-rock/indie-pop/psychedelic/genre-defiers Glass Animals, does exactly that. With swirling images of iconic nineties cultural zeniths and (a little more than) relatable depictions of everyday relationships, Dreamland is a fully immersive musical (and visual!) experience that left me in tears by its end. Want to learn more? Well, let’s dive in— The album begins with the title track “Dreamland,” serving almost as an overture in terms of musical and lyrical tone and composition. In other words, “Dreamland” sends you off to sleep, immersing you in the moment and preparing you for what’s next. It seems to say, “Welcome, let’s take a journey,” and before you know it you’re in lead-vocalist and front man Dave Bayley’s world (or, his “Dreamland,” which is an amalgam of memories, ideas, and images galore.) The momentum picks up with track two, titled “Tangerine,” which is clearly about someone the singer knows somewhat intimately (or did, at one time). The nostalgia train departs the station early on this album, with references to The Karate Kid and childhood snacks (like ramen noodles, nice!) already flying. The energy stays high throughout “Tangerine,” the track being alittle dance-y in its indie synth-pop meets hip-hop composition, then eventually gives way to the first “home movie” on the album, this one subtitled “1994”. The “home movie” segments of the album are intensely raw and relatable, with Dave Bayley’s mother’s voice guiding each of them. Dave states (via Spotify Storylines) that the audio on each “home movie” track is actually audio derived from his own home movies, and the photographs attached to each are authentic photos from Dave’s childhood, as well. This audio visual representation of who Dave Bayley is as a human being give stock to the album’s undeniable authenticity, which echoes throughout the next tracks “Hot Sugar”, “home movie: btx”, and the dark, Dr. Dre inspired “Space Ghost Coast to Coast,” too. Speaking of “Space Ghost Coast to Coast,” that song very well might be the darkest and most personal on the entire album. Dave Bayley has made it clear that the song is about a dear friend who took a tragic turn in life, and out of respect for that friend says he will “leave it at that. ”This song is heavy, heavy stuff, despite its infectious hip-hop beat making you nod your head and tap your foot throughout. The next few songs “Tokyo Drifting” (featuring the incredible Denzel Curry), “Melon and the Coconut,” “Your Love (Déjà Vu),” “Waterfalls Coming Out Your Mouth,” and “It’s All So Incredibly Loud” follow a somewhat formulaic (but never boring) sound, fitting into the aesthetic of the album as a whole nicely, whilst never losing momentum nor the sincerity Bayley and co. have cultivated on previous tracks. Even less emotional songs (like “Tokyo Drifting”) keep the listener fully engaged throughout, and that’s not to be ignored. This album as a whole, truly, is not one to be ignored. Without spoiling the entire album (and with sincere hope that you all listen to it for yourselves, because it’s something of a journey), I will close by saying that the last few tracks on the album (the final “home movie” installment, “Domestic Bliss,” “Heat Waves,” and “Helium”) pack such an emotional punch that, by the end of it, I was brought to tears. I nearly didn’t realize I was crying until I took a deep breath in, feeling my face become hot and flushed, tears pouring down my cheeks. I’m an emotional person to be sure, but an album hasn’t done that to me inquite some time. Hell, no form of art has— and that’s saying something. This album is a true audio-visual masterpiece and certainly shouldn’t be missed. Upon the first listen, don’t skip any tracks. Listen to them in order. Review the “listening instructions” on the band’s official Instagram— you’ll be glad you did, as this album is best enjoyed as a living piece of art (rather than a one-off single, etc.) Signing off, this is Miranda Martin (and one her new top five favorite albums of all-time.) Xoxo, MM.

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