Gig Review – Glass Animals (London Edition Basement, 24th April)

“Buzz” is a word that is often overused, or self-applied by bands (which is one of the most annoying things in my opinion). Glass Animals, however, are a band that can’t seem to traverse the internet without it being used to describe them at the moment. Journalists, professional bloggers, even bands (Rizzle Kicks tweeted yesterday that they were listening to them) are all being allured by Glass Animals soft but sexy electronic sounds; and there I was last night seeing them live for free. Happy days.

At a guest-list only gig under the London Edition Hotel in Oxford Circus, the Buzz Band themselves came on stage to a packed, crimson-lit, smokey room in what I can only describe as one of the coolest feeling bars I’ve been in, in a long, long time. Their image isn’t exceptional at all – 4 normally clothed guys standing at various keyboards, sample pads and guitars across the stage. Completely standard. From the get-go, though, you can feel that there is a certain charisma and energy to this band.

They kick off to some troubles with the mix – his voice barely standing out over the rumblings of the booming bass and kick drum which you could tell he wasn’t happy about – but as the sound improved around halfway through their set, you could feel something special was happening.

In my first review of their single “Gooey” I described the hypnotic effect of their soft synths and trance-like beats, and much to my joy, the singer was applying himself with all of the conviction I always dreamed he would – eyes closed, swaying along with the crowd to their dub-like Night Pop (a genre which is being used to describe more and more music). Even though his position was fairly static right in front of the mic (save some movement whilst playing a handful of guitar solos), the energy coming out of the speakers was immense. The band used a vast number of samples and loops to beef up their sound to great effect, and the way it all slotted together nicely into a smooth wave of sound was gorgeous. Buzz worthy indeed.

What I couldn’t get over throughout the gig was his voice. Strong, but soft, characterful falsetto – you don’t hear that much. His “ooh” sounds in particular show off his vocal strengths; even when the lyrics are as disturbing as “Fresh out of the icky gooey womb”. Pretty gross.

Songs like “Black Mambo” from their first EP went down a storm with the crowd, who were into their music as much, if not more, than the band were. As well playing some of their more well-trodden tracks, the band also ventured into playing an as-of-yet unreleased song called “Hazy”, which fitted in thematically and sonically to everything they seem to stand for so far. I’m looking forward to hearing the studio version of that one.

The band are skilled and experienced live musicians too. Their set was dotted with raucous, Radiohead like breakdowns and solos that gives the 45 minutes a feeling of ebb and flow, and the fact that all of this is done without a backing track is really quite impressive.

Glass Animals finish their set with the XFM playlisted/Line Of Best Fit song of the week ‘Pools’, followed by the fantastic ‘Gooey’; which is met with rapturous applause. I hate to be that guy who only likes a band’s newest music, but these 2 songs are definitely their best to date in my opinion, and they perform them with flawless precision.

I set my expectations dangerously high for this band, but after last night, I wasn’t let down one bit.

And I’m a picky son-of-a-bitch.

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