Album Review... Glass Animals - ZABA

There's nothing transparent about Glass Animals' debut album. It's simply jam packed with juices and gems that can only be found in the most obscure of places. That place, is ZABA.

ZABA transports us to a trembling and intriguing world of treats around every corner. From the outside, Glass Animals could appear a little delicate, but unnerve them in the slightest, and they evolve into an altogether different species. Opening track, 'Flip', is a brooding tribal number which quite literally turns on you halfway through. It's the first of a smattering of moments like this which integrate to make up the formula of ZABA. There's traces of sounds from far flung shores, similar to the Bollywood influences found in Bombay Bicycle Club's latest record.

The trio of 'Black Mambo', 'Gooey' and 'Pools' are each beautifully crafted around tender souls; their delicate attention to detail being one which Alt-J could've worked up. 'Pools' plunges straight into tropic abysses whilst 'Black Mambo' and 'Gooey' are so spine tingling relaxing, you could find them on a chill out mix. On the opposite side of the spectrum, 'Walla Walla' is a jungle infused whirlwind of instruments, with a hint of Arcade Fire hidden in there. Probably the biggest track on the album, it's trembling, anxious essence lead up to the finest instrumental yet.

These themes stick throughout the album, and consistently too, reaching their peak at 'Cocoa Hooves', which is so beautifully simplistic in the way it simmers and bubbles to bring about the most memorable moments of the album.

Comparisons will always be drawn, particularly to the Alt-J phenomenon of 2012. What ZABA brings though, is a bolder, richer alternative to An Awesome Wave, and it's brimming with confidence. The nurturing vocals mirror those of Joe Newman at points, particularly in the harmonies of 'WYRD' but in other places a spiteful attitude is adopted in the almost soul soaked 'Hazey'. There's hints of soulful playfulness running through the seams of the album, the twinkling piano of closing track 'JDNT' being the height of this.

At first glance the most noticeable thing about 'ZABA' is the track names. They're simplistic, or simplified, many intriguing. They want to keep us guessing and this is just what their inquisitive style of music does as we peel back the layers one at a time. With so many layers unpeeled in just eleven tracks, it begs the question; will they be able to continue the momentum from such a pristine debut?

Glass Animals - ZABA
Out of 10: 8.5/10

By Joshua Shreeve (@JJShreeve)

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