Album Review: Glass Animal’s “How to Be a Human Being”

Glass Animals sophomore album isn’t one to miss. Released last summer, the 11 track album, titled “How To Be a Human Being”, is almost symphonic in its presentation of the groups synth-pop, grungy, hip-hop feel.

The first track, Life Itself, establishes the story like nature of the album’s composition. The song opens with a gliss, a strumming upward that is reminiscent of a Disney opening. The song itself is upbeat, full of fluid lyrics that match the beat. The underlying music itself is composed of woodwind-like synth and jungle-like drum tracks that combine to sliding melodies.

The second track, Youth, continues the rising action. Glass Animals has always had a laid back, settled attitude in their music. While Life Itself didn’t represent that traditional feel, Youth brings it back in.

The signature hook of any Glass Animals track is in it’s culminating nature. In the beginning of the song the group will slowly introduce the lyrics, the melody, a drum track, and then swap out some of those elements for new ones, building the repertoire until a crescendo in the last minute of the song.

Season 2 Episode 3 is appropriately the third track on Glass Animal’s second album. It has a more pop focused flow, with a lot of isolated symphonic bleeps and bloops. It is also a sort of close to the first act of the album, a sort of sunset to the action of the first two songs.

The next three songs are some of the best in the collection. Pork Soda, Momma’s Gun and Cane Shuga all have incredibly interesting sounds and tone’s woven into catchy vocalizations that produce the most complete sounding Glass Animals tracks to date. Each has an upbeat, driving foundation and builds upon it from there.

[Premade Sandwiches] is an interlude into the album, a quick thirty second track in which a poetry reading is sped up and fed through a distorter. The poem itself is well done, and the added effects make it more dynamic, ultimately a good spacer for the album.

The last three songs on the album all feel like the closing act. Each is slower, more deliberate, and play with lower, deeper registers in their sound makeup. Take A Slice features perhaps the deepest, distorted punch of bass to ever grace a song, and it’s used to excellent effect when paired with the biting lyrics.

Poplar St plays with the most physical instrumentation of the album. It opens with a flowing bass guitar that runs through the track, and tells a story. It’s ending incorporates a sort of beat boxing riff that helps carry the closing momentum into the last track, Agnes.

Agnes opens with another emotion forming build. Where Life Itself opened the album with the sounds of expectation, Agnes opens with the sound of sweet melancholy, like the ending of summer camp. The track builds off that initial energy and uses plenty of well timed fades to push the emotion father. By the end of the track, and the album, it feels complete.

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