Glass Animals, a young and eager English outfit, shared a blend of R&B, rock and electro inspired pop to a highly enthusiastic audience at Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre. Touring in support of their debut record Zaba, Glass Animals are a bright example of the evolving blend of modern radio friendly pop and sonic soundscapes.
Glass Animals’ stage setup clearly indicated a departure from the regular live band format; while most groups are largely centred around the anchoring drive of the drummer,their percussionist stood to the far right of the stage, placing reduced emphasis on the electronic pulse beats of the group. As far as things go, Glass Animals could be vaguely be called a rock band but their influences sound confined to contemporary era Radiohead rather than the genre of rock as a whole. It’s a watery comparison as their music product is deep, sleek and heavily produced. Frontman Dave Bayley stood centre stage, with the majority of instrumentation acting largely in a supporting role for the execution as his vocals.
After warming the crowd with a few songs from Zaba, the band identified their next song as “Gooey,” which triggered the adoring screams of many a female audience member. A dazzling, electronic focused pop song, featuring twinkling keys and a passionate vocal performance and rich, subtle sonic textures echoed beautifully throughout the fine acoustics of the Theatre.
Drawing from the textural experiments, Glass Animals craft melodies that sound, as the “Glass” element of their name suggests, their music is exquisitely clean. On the other hand, the pulsing, slow dance friendly beat on songs like “Hazey” disqualify the music from much of a revisionist label; they sound a little too clean to be animals. At any rate,they are a young, hungry group with considerable sonic talent and considerable musical ambition. Glass Animals are not out to change the world or let loose attitude, but rather make a sweet, delicate soundtrack ideal late evening cuddling. Their musical output, while considerably varied in inspiration, belongs to a modern genre that has stripped away many defining features of rock and roll. If you are going to listen to optimistic, romanticized pop, Glass Animals with their own gorgeous sonic template, aren’t a bad pick. Some of the songs earlier performed early in their set bore some resemblance to the minimalism of Exciter era Depeche Mode, an admirable feat.
Glass Animals are a promising pop group with strong instrumentation that yields in support to dominant, sometimes overly sugary vocals with obscure lyrics. Glass Animals have succeeded in forging a soothing and seductive musical atmosphere that will undoubtably be the soundtrack to many a romantic evening. Showing influence from varied genres, the splashes of fiery guitar and auxiliary percussions add notable saturation to the more subtle sonic side of the group. Being such a young group, Glass Animals performed all of Zaba but were restrained in length of performance by their still limited catalogue. Performing to a sold out audience, thousands of miles from their homes, Glass Animals have had a prestigious start to their careers.