Oxford natives Glass Animals released their debut LP Zaba last week, and the hype surrounding the jungle rhythms and RnB-inspired indie pop is comparable to that of Alt J’s landslide record of 2012.
Produced by A&R legend Paul Epworth (Adele, Florence and the Machine) on new label Wolf Tone, the four-piece have crafted an experimental, tropical wilderness for listeners, intended to be explored in sequential order. Front man Dave Bayley explains that the journey of the album and its title originates from his favourite story book as a child – William Steig’s ‘The Zabajaba Jungle’.
‘Flip’ is a strong opening to the record emphasising the bands unique blend of feverish organic beats and lush vocal melodies, while indie pop peak ‘Gooey’ is the hooky musical canopy we have come to love from the boys and really solidifies their sound. ‘Black Mambo’ is a rework from their self-titled EP and is best described as prowling RnB sassiness, whereas ‘Hazey’ culminates with dramatic tribal rhythms and lyrics of desperate devotion.
They slow it all down with ‘Cocoa Hooves’, another rework from previous EP Leaflings which gives Bayley the opportunity to swing his distinctive vocal melodies from the highest peaks and back again. Overall the wildly intriguing debut delivers a reliable sound from the first beat, and the combination of immaculate production, traditional instruments and exotic soundscapes only seek to further enhance the untamed experience.
We would tell you to look out for Glass Animals, however they will be hard to miss this year with so much commotion around the peculiar foursome… But, who’s complaining? For if you are going to be in the midst of their jungle, at least you can have a bit of a groove while you are there.
Glass Animals’ debut album ZABA is out now through iTunes.