RADAR: Glass Animals

We're not saying that frontman Dave Bayley's work with psychiatric patients as part of his neuroscience degree has anything to do with Glass Animal's rather dark and twisted stories of "badass" unicorns and dancing moles immersed in electronica-meets-pschedelica art/pop grooves. But we're guessing it didn't hurt. This is after all, a band once known as both Afro Pony and Alligator Puffin Chicken Go Yeh Woo in earlier incarnations and who write songs with titles like "Black Mambo" and "Cocoa Hooves." Made up of two Americans and two Brits and signed to the fledgling label Wolf Tone (via Harvest/Universal), a new imprint from Grammy-winning producer and songwriter Paul Epworth (Adele, Florence & The Machine), the Oxford-based quartet keep the weirdness tightly coiled in R+B and shadowy dub beats, Bayley's narcotic falsetto vocals echoing atop some slinky funk foundations and mellow tribal rhythms in "Psylla." As to be expected, the band's videos are equally strange and wonderful -- click through below to watch the nightmarish stop-motion animation of "Psylla" and stream (and watch) "Exxus." Debut album is expected early 2014.

Glass Animals - "Psylla"

Glass Animals - "Exxus"

They’re badass outlaws, they wear ponchos and have tattoos,” says softly spoken Dave Bayley. “Unicorns are pretty gangster.” Welcome to the warped world of Glass Animals. Everything about the Oxford quartet’s psychedelic indie – from the song titles (‘Cocoa Hooves’, ‘Golden Antlers’) to their previous band names (Afro Pony, Alligator Puffin Chicken Go Yeh Woo) – is like stumbling into a lost Mighty Boosh episode.

We’re sat today in The Shed, a hut in the woods in Oxfordshire. Filled with guitars and blankets and pillows, it’s like a padded room for boho loons; somewhere you’d imagine British Sea Power noodling away – not the likes of super-producer Paul Epworth, winner of Oscars and Grammys, who has signed the band to his new label, Wolf Tone.

“He soundtracked our early years,” says drummer Joe Seaward. “The Rakes, Bloc Party… that’s how we bonded as a group. We’d go and watch those bands at The Zodiac in Oxford. So he was partly responsible for ‘us’. We told him. He looked pleased.”

Hippy, trippy Dave, Joe, Drew Macfarlane and Edmund Irwin Singer met aged 14 and, in 2010, decided to set up a MySpace. Four days later the buzz had begun – but, determined to finish their degrees, they put music on hold and waited two years before releasing the ‘Leaflings’ EP through XL imprint Kaya Kaya. While Joe admits the limbo period was “frustrating”, Glass Animals’ time on hold helped hone their sound.

“I spent so much of my life thinking about brains and bodies,” says frontman Dave, who, thanks to his neuroscience degree, spent many hours with psychiatric patients. “It comes though in some of the lyrics. I met someone who punched a singer with several Number One songs in the face at a book signing,” he continues, “and other people who had really dark stories.”

Before they start work on their debut album, their first Wolf Tone release will be the single ‘Black Mambo’/‘Exxus’. It’s a story about a freakish, dancing mole. “Ahh, it’s all nuts,” says Dave, head in his hands, distressed by his own creation. Let the madness begin.
Read more at http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-radar/radar-band-of-the-week-glass-animals#0EQLkJWDdmiWYd3O.99