The British group, whose sound is so uncommon it’s been categorized as indietronica and shiver pop, too, is touring North America and parts of Europe this summer, and their fierce fans are relentless in showing their devotions to the group. They’ve established a symbol all their own, a golden calf of sorts to show their support for the band; a pineapple serves as the token item.
Heaps and oodles of pineapples are being smuggled into Glass Animals shows, at festivals like Glastonbury and at their headlining concerts, too. Some of the venues have banned the tropical fruit, complying with their rules on prohibiting outside food and drink inside the gates, but fans are still finding a way to get them inside. The band shared on Facebook a screenshot of such a rule, saying “ten points to everyone who manages to sneak in a pineapple anyway.”
“Every festival and show that we do there’s always a huge pile of confiscated pineapples at the entrance,” said Dave Bayley, lead vocalist and lyricist for Glass Animals, in an interview with Downtown. “But people still manage to sneak some in anyways no matter what. I don’t know how they do it.”
The pineapple frenzy is inspired by the pineapple design on the group’s first album cover, for the record ZABA, which was released in 2014. Will fans be able to sneak pineapples into Panorama Fest this weekend, where Glass Animals will play on Sunday? It’s unclear. But you can bet they will try.
Band members Bayley, guitarist/keyboardist Drew MacFarlane, drummer Joe Seaward and bassist/keyboardist Edmund Irwin-Singer formed their band at university in 2010. Their most recent album, “How To Be A Human Being,” has entranced listeners since its release in August of last year. A trippy, kaleidoscopic sonic whirlwind, the record packs a distinct range of sounds and instrumentation into 11 songs. Listeners who are just in it for the auditory aspect and melodies will receive a musical thrill, but there’s more to hear and discover below the surface.
Each of the 11 songs represents a different character. These characters, who are depicted in the album cover art and each have their own website (see for yourself on their website), were created and compiled by Bayley as the band was touring. Bayley recorded people’s stories on his phone, and then he wrote the characters to include many of those chronicles, as well as fictional attributes and experiences from his own life.
“When I started doing this, listening to these stories and initially writing the words, I didn’t really know if it would turn into an album,” Bayley said. “I kind of realized after I started writing words. I was like ‘Oh, I could put this to music and it would work.’ But when I first had the idea I didn’t know what it was going to be.”
It turns out the stories were meant to be songs. The album is perfectly enjoyable without paying attention to the characters and their tales, but dig deeper if you want, Bayley said. There’s something to be discovered in each.
“There’s probably a little bit of me in all the characters, a flavor,” Bayley said. “And hopefully there’s a little bit that everyone can relate to in all the characters, a touch of it. That’s kind of the idea.”
The songwriting came easy as the characters took shape in Bayley’s mind.
“It’s kind of like writing a theme song for someone,” he said.
Listeners may find they relate to the romanticism of “Poplar St” or the lust for adventure in “The Other Side of Paradise.” But one song has a special meaning for Bayley. “Agnes” is as poignant as it is heartbreaking, and Bayley said recently on Facebook that it’s probably the “saddest song i will ever write.” An outpouring of love for the song has been shown by fans since the release of radio edit last month.
From playing in some kid’s garage in Salt Lake City about four years back (there was no bar or lighting system: just a cooler that said “water $1”) to rocking Panorama and Red Rocks this summer, the band has seen a journey to popularity and their share of great live performances. They’ll be back to New York City in October, to play Radio City Music Hall.
“I’ve heard about so many legendary concerts that have happened there and I think it’s gonna be special,” Bayley said. “A lot of people say it’s their favorite venue in the world to play so I am really looking forward to it.”
First, they take Panorama. Don’t miss their set this weekend.