Glass Animals at Turner Hall: A Review

In light of its debut album “Zaba”, Glass Animals did Wisconsin the honors of playing at Turner Hall in Milwaukee on Sept. 8. The four strapping, young British talents took the stage following Rome Fortune, a blossoming rapper from Atlanta who donned blue facial hair and dished punching, introspective lyrics.

People love to categorize emerging artists, perhaps rightfully so. You want to know how to describe music to your friends and make sense of a sound in your own mind. Good luck with Glass Animals. I’ve heard it described as similar to alt-J, but the subtle intricacies and textures of its songs get lost in that comparison.

Among the unexpected rattles, clicks, strums and electronic beats—what perhaps should’ve been nonsensical clamor—there was undeniable, groovy fluidity. Glass Animals manipulated music in a way that turned jungle cacophony into hazy, daze-y, dreamlike bliss.

The four graced the stage with infectious sincerity as singer Dave Bayley told the crowd that this was its biggest turnout to date. Think opposite of pretentious, opposite of exhausted and very much ripe in the midst of the big-label touring scene. Glass Animals portrayed a lighthearted exuberance on stage that slowly seeped into the core of each audience member. By the time it closed with “Pools,” the crowd had transformed into a united sea of shimmying animals.

I left the show with an even deeper appreciation for not only Glass Animals’ stellar spirit, but also its significance as a group of musical wordsmiths. Phrases such as “we float before the sea and eyes, getting heavy mixing glitter thighs” and “wanna sip this smooth air, kick it in the sand” oozed effortlessly and coolly in sync with the creative backdrop of sounds. When experienced live, you’re truly transported.

A Glass Animals show is organized chaos. A mesh of oxymoronic meaning, it’s subtlety powerful, it’s perfectly distorted and it’s nonsensically cohesive. Glass Animals is a zoo, and I encourage everyone to pay a visit. You may even fit in.

Glass Animals 9/8