By Ashley Farnie
Glass Animals’ latest release, Dreamland, encompasses both romantic and realistic perspectives of love, reminding us of the harsh realities eclipsing idealistic romance.
As their third studio album, Glass Animals’ cohesive sound flows throughout Dreamland, tying their discography together while exploring new thematic concepts.
Intertwined with various audio clips from home movies, this album explores many perspectives, including from children, challenging the listener to decipher whether they are in reality or Dreamland.
Beginning our journey into the magical world explored in this album, the title track “Dreamland” lulls us into a dream state with its calming lullaby sound.
Lyrics such as “pulling down backroads deep in your head,” depict the descent into memory this album takes us on. The line “slipping through dreamland like a tourist,” reminds us we are being shown from a distance, simply observing.
Glass Animals makes a strong statement regarding the definition of masculinity, which serves as a motivator for the album. This idea is deconstructed throughout the entirety of this album.
Moving into an upbeat techno track, “Tangerine” brings us into Dreamland by showing us the dreams that inspired the album, making us outsiders looking in. After being “dreamless” since the 1990s, these dreams now unfold so we can experience them.
“Hot Sugar” brightly depicts the intensity and variations of love. Its lyrical alliteration makes us visualize this song through holographic lenses. This track reminds us we are still in a dream although the lyrics state, “I wish that we could be real too,”
Furthering the imagery of dreams, “Your Love (Déjà vu)” centers on the notion that memories of previous relationships come to mind as glimpses. Visions of a “purple touch” and the bright beams of car headlights shining through a window continue the momentum of this dream state.
“It’s All So Incredibly Loud” contains the elements of an interlude: minimal lyrics, repetition; but contains more substance than the various home video interludes of the album.
With echoing vocals and a distant sound, this track seems to mirror the awakening phase after a dream. Even whispers being too loud, the unraveling of love begins when “heartbreak was never so loud.”
“Domestic Bliss” takes a unique perspective of discussing domestic violence from the viewpoint of a child. The innocence and naivete of children prevent them from understanding the motives to remain in an abusive relationship. With the child’s best interest at hand, their mother only hurts her child by continuing to partake in a toxic relationship.
Using the metaphor of a mirage, “Heat Waves” depicts the outward appearance of love and its initial attraction, as opposed to the harsh realities outside of the dream. The upbeat melodies and vibrant instrumentation mimic the track’s thematic substance.
The melodies of previous tracks effortlessly flow into the album’s closure, “Helium. “ This song discusses the end of a relationship while coming to the end of the album. References to last times and the return to real life remind us we are still dreaming. The cyclical nature of dreams sends us right back to the album’s opener, “Dreamland,” seamlessly, and makes you want to continue listening.
Dreamland takes listeners on a magical journey through a land of dreams encompassed by whimsical melodies and poetic lyrics. This album teeters between romantic views of love and aerial views depicting the entirety of relationships.
Featured image via Dreamland album cover.