The Daily Gamecock

Review: 'Dreamland' by Glass Animals, growing through digital age

Album: “Dreamland” by Glass Animals 

Release Date: Aug. 7, 2020

Run Time: 45 minutes

Label: Wolf Tone Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited 

Grade: B+

The album “Dreamland” by Glass Animals is a reflective trip down memory lane. Most people guard their past, but this album serves as a raw reveal of life and thought. 

Dave Bayley, 31, lead vocalist and mastermind behind this collective art installment, refreshes the Glass Animals by simply being honest. Putting his secrets, dreams and past to music through a transparent personal biography, "Dreamland" displays vulnerability in the artist life and the potential to move past your own.

The delivery differs from traditional Glass Animal styles, adopting more futuristic pop and meditative lyrics from more psychedelic, indie rock styles heard on their previous album "How To Be A Human Being" in 2016. 

The transparency first became evident with the announcement of the Glass Animals Open Source. This website offered lyrics before the release, a retro playground for fandoms and 3-D art with augmented reality filters. Doing so showed off the band’s ability to offer more than music. 

The open source resurrects a digital age of the early 2000s, a technological feel that reminds you of Gold Star video games but at the same time a look at the future influenced by the past and also a look into the lives of the album creatives. 

Retrospection and retro vibes play in sound effects, lyrics, visuals and, at its core, the album cover. 

The stylistic choices are bold and impressionable, including the choice to include four snippets of home movies in the album‘s lineup. These features are a tad off-beat in terms of the musical energy on the album, all of which are a minute or under. It’s an interesting look into Bayley’s childhood, but what’s the purpose of reflecting through Bayley’s home movies when you can reflect on your own past? 

On a positive note, arguably one of the best features Glass Animals has done is on this album. “Tokyo Drifting” featuring Denzel Curry shows that the band can deliver a beat drop and radiate confidence through rap, a style somewhat foreign to them. A style they should have experimented more with on this awakening album.

The line “Wavey Davey’s on fire” is one that echoes and shows that despite yesterday, you can still be riding the wave  and happy with yourself. This simple line is powerful in marking self-growth and awareness through the album, specifically for Bayley. 

Songs like “Heat Waves” and “Your Love (Déjà Vu)” open the memory bank of longing in loneliness despite toxicity in relationships, a feeling very present in times of quarantine. 

The past can be a touchy subject but also a beautiful learning tool. Hitting emotions as deep as imposed masculinity and childhood trauma, "Dreamland" proposes the idea to let yourself free of the strains from before. Live in the moment and don’t let the online world consume you of what things used to be and what they are supposed to be. 

The world is changing rapidly, and the song “Dreamland” ties past memories, stereotypes and pedagogy with the innovative minds and changing of opinions that are shaping our world to be. 

“You go ask your questions like what makes a man. Oh, it's 2020, so it's time to change that. So you go make an album and call it Dreamland,” Bayley ends the song with. 

"Dreamland" is about being who you want to be, allowing yourself to reflect on where you came from and setting free from burdens that may determine where you go. Most importantly the album is a creation that Bayley put his heart and soul into curating a story that is true to him and abstractly shows life in the digital age. 

Listen to "Dreamland" today. It’s like a movie you saw in your youth and are seeing once again with a brand new set of eyes, just this time with your ears.