Albums of the month – August 2016
We all know the saying… you have a lifetime to write your first album, about a year to write its follow up.
So what do you do when you’re constantly touring, yet are in need of inspiration for that difficult second album?
Well, if you’re Glass Animals frontman David Bayley, you secretly use your iPhone to record conversations with the people you meet on the road. And then, of course, you create wonky pop songs about them.
How to be a Human Being aimed to deconstruct just that. Adopting the characters they encountered, Glass Animals borrowed their life experiences and presented them under a guise of lush vocals and slick beats.
If the concept sounded a little contrived, the music itself was a welcomed distraction. For every: ‘My girl eats mayonaise from the jar while she’s getting blazed’ to contemplate, there were an array of video game effects to divert the attention. For every nonsensical lyric like: ‘Pineapples are in my head’, there was a catchy chorus to help you sing along to it.
These musical triumphs were evident throughout. Mama’s Gun used a fantastic Carpenters sample to melancholic effect. Agnes demonstrated they had stadium-sized ambition. And lead single, Life Itself, has to be up there as a contender for song of the year.
How to be a Human Being may have started off as a rather sleazy idea, but it ended up offering something refreshingly different in the musical landscape.
Frank Ocean: Blonde
Lisa Hannigan: At Swim