Glass Animals takes a journey into subconscious on ‘Dreamland’

Glass animals single review "dreamland"
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Grade: 4.0/5.0

Imagine floating down a river of memories, looking at a bubblegum pink sky filled with cotton candy clouds. That’s the exact imagery English psychedelic pop group Glass Animals injects into listeners’ minds with its new single “Dreamland,” released May 1. “Dreamland” is the third single and the title track from the band’s upcoming album, and it’s a positive foreshadowing of what’s to come.

“Dreamland” begins with a lullaby-inspired keyboard riff backed by cascading synths that envelop listeners like a warm blanket before slumber. The melody is one that sounds just like one of Glass Animals’ signature concoctions, but significantly softer. It’s a song that’s somehow trippy, calming and jolting all at once.

The synth breakdowns coupled with lyrics that encourage reflection on one’s past and future make for a paradoxically awakening combination rather than a lulling one. “Dreamland” isn’t a song that puts listeners to sleep — rather, it puts them in a trance with a heightened sense of awareness.

“Dreamland” has a slow buildup, with a layering of waves of synth one after another before frontman Dave Bayley’s vocals come in. His soothing voice is characteristic of Glass Animals’ other work, and it’s a comforting guide for the introspective but relaxing journey the track takes listeners on.

The lyrics are simple yet deep, perfect for when lying awake in bed and pondering existence. “You want everything live, you want things you can touch/ Make it feel like a movie you saw in your youth,” Bayley sings. The pressing feeling of nostalgia pervades the song and hints at the overall theme of the record to come.

“Dreamland” is intended to be a “table of contents” for the rest of the record, featuring clever hints in the lyrics, such as Bayley singing, “So you go make an album and call it Dreamland.” Not only does the song apply universally, but it’s also a direct look into Glass Animals’ creative process. The band employs an innovative technique, giving listeners a clue as to what topics they can expect in an introductory song, all without compromising the quality of the tune.

The track is different from the consistent barrage of bangers Glass Animals has released, missing the heavy bass and synths that familiarly thump throughout the songs. But “Dreamland” is a nice, softer side that shows the band’s versatility and ability. It’s the perfect single to ease listeners into a long, winding record that’s sure to be packed with plenty of bumping beats.

“Dreamland” is a spaced-out song that fits its namesake, yet is also grounded in reality. It’s a concrete manifestation of the struggles and experiences humankind goes through, set to beautifully dreamy instrumentals. And if the rest of Glass Animals’ forthcoming album is like “Dreamland,” as well as the other released singles, “Tokyo Drifting” and “Your Love (Déjà Vu),” it’ll be one for the books.

Contact Pooja Bale at [email protected].