Recommend if you like: Phantogram, Tame Impala, The Black Keys’s later work

Expectation: The sophomore album from Glass Animals, an English band whose sound incorporates elements of indie rock, synthpop, and indietronica.

TRACK-BY-TRACK

  • Life Itself – A strong opener, grabbing the listener with an interesting beat and a simple, catchy melody. The instrumental breaks later in the song are clever and entertaining as well.
  • Youth – A cheerful synthpop tune with interesting, bubbly percussion and some kind of woodwinds that are infectiously cheerful.
  • Season 2 Episode 3 – The band applies a more hip hop approach to their usual brand of indietronica and the result is spacious and dreamy while still concise in structure, with a very catchy hook.
  • Pork Soda – Sounding a bit more indie rock on this track, emphasized by the abrupt increase in profanity (not really a criticism, its just kind of weird). Another catchy chorus, though fewer interesting sounds than can be found elsewhere on the album.
  • Mama’s Gun – Another more rock-oriented song, but kind of boring in comparison with the energy that the other tracks brought.
  • Cane Shuga – The vocal part to the groove was a cool idea, but overall this song just doesn’t have a lot going on, feeling very much like a filler track.
  • The Other Side of Paradise – One of the best melodies on the album, with great contributions from the guitar throughout the song. The “Woo!” sample gets old by the second verse, but the song finishes strong with a fantastically executed crescendo into the final chorus.
  • Take A Slice – The group explores some more abrasive sounds here, forming them into a darker, almost foreboding melody. It works well as a change of pace, though I don’t think I would enjoy a full album in the same style.
  • Poplar St – Centered around a bluesy guitar riff, this is by far the most “rock” sounding song on the album. Luckily, the band succeeds in making it sound like a natural facet of their sound, so it works pretty well.
  • Agnes – A pretty good closer, the entire song has an uplifting feeling to it, and the chorus is catchy. Not the strongest song on the album, but an appropriate way to end it.

Overall: Glass Animals don’t so much refuse to be put in a box as they do demand they have a box for themselves: their style could succinctly be described as an even mixture of rock and indietronica, with occasional leanings towards one or the other, and such a description would encapsulate their entire sound. However, their sound is nevertheless an original one, and the band’s only limit seems to be their ambition. ‘Season 2 Episode 3’ is, in my opinion, the best song on here by far, but the runner-ups aren’t mere B-List versions of the same song. Each song that I enjoyed felt like it was enjoyable because it approached the same sound in a different way than the band had done before, while the less enjoyable tracks felt as if they were simply reusing ideas that had been better employed elsewhere. Despite the small amount of filler, this is a very cohesive and enjoyable album, and potentially one that could help get rock fans into indietronica or vice versa.

Score: 6/10

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