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Zaba - Glass Animals - A Landscape for Sonic Exploration

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This year’s debut Album release, Zaba, from Glass Animals was a toe curling, shivering mix of jungle sounds and psychedelic dreams. The British Indie rock group produced an album of tracks that makes you feel like you’re lying down in the middle of a tangle of trees and vines with rain pouring down all around you, but never touching your skin. The post-trap ambient sounds and sultry vocals result in a creation that takes you out of your moment and to a beautiful other-land filled with mystical creatures and interweaving thoughts.


Tracks like Black Mamba and Toes give you the ominous feeling that perhaps you should look more closely at your surrounding, lest the eyes in the shadows jump out at you when you’re not paying attention. The Sensual, sticky feeling of the backing beats makes you wonder if in fact you’re being slowly sedated and taken to another realm, perhaps one of dreams.


There is a lulling sensation to these songs that could provide a perfect environment for meditation into nirvana. Alternatively, one might use the music as the soundtrack to a day of observing nature, or even the people around you. The environment created is one of illumination and calm. It is the sound to which our brains drift in and out of consciousness as we begin and end each day.


The Music video to track number three on the album, Pool, just further emphasizes the psychedelic nature of the music. Claymation figures inhale and exhale, growing and shrinking with the swelling of the music. Snakes twist in toy-like pieces through a plush and plasticized jungle landscape, as flowers seem to creep like small animals in their own right. The track itself is simple, mainly featuring vocals over a repetitive snare beat, and then introducing ambient sound in the chorus.


While at times the album begins to feel monotonous (not necessarily a flaw so long as it’s purposeful, which I suspect it is), some tracks break ever so slightly. Track 10, Cocoa Hooves, features some of the albums rare recognizable instrumental parts. Smooth vocals, which give an impression of a more mainstream acoustic pop tune, slide cleanly over simple guitar chords and a basic riff before drifting into the more electronic feel that fits appropriately with the rest of the album.


Freshman album Zaba seems to position Glass Animals as a potential favourite for the slightly offbeat listeners of coming years. Influences as vast as cloud trap, dream pop, and R&B create a vast sonic landscape, which audiophiles will doubtlessly spend many hours exploring.

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