We shuffle up the stairs at Think Tank, popping our heads around the corner to discover this evenings support act William Arcane. The sound of William’s ethereal pop music fills our ears, whilst we're shocked by the lack of musicians adorning the stage. With a lone tall figure hunched over a plethora of electronic gadgetry, the density of the sound is insanely impressive.
Whilst the sound may be dense, there is a beautiful light touch to it, not too over powering. There often has to be a very strict balance in these situations in our view, as it can quite easily become too much.
Undoubtedly William Arcane provides the perfect support as Glass Animals take to the stage. Opening with the amazing ‘Psylla,’ which is somewhat reminiscent of Wild Beasts current output. The sparse instrumentation, recursive drum pattern and the hazy vocals especially. Front man Dave Bayley takes the Thom Yorke approach to his delivery; his arms flail one moment as he hugs the mic stand the next.
Glass Animals are currently on tour to support their debut album Zaba, a record harbouring numerous flashes of brilliance, most of which are on display this evening. Glass Animals fit somewhere between the aforementioned Wild Beasts and Radiohead and on paper this sounds like an excellent combination, but in practice this amalgamation seems to polarise the set.
That said the likes of ‘Black Mambo’ and ‘Pools’ really stand out, ‘Pools’ is a truly excellent track. A lot denser than some of Glass Animals other tracks, the heavily echoed vocals ring throughout the venue. The track has an almost carnival feel in parts, and is perhaps one of the highlights of this evening's set.
The band round off their set with the absolutely brilliant ‘Gooey’, again this track has a distinct Wild Beasts feel to it and a beautiful undercurrent that almost sounds like someone’s squelching through the track, adding intrigue. Again the vocals echo throughout the venue providing the perfect end to this evening's set.
There was a distinct element of light and shade tonight, Glass Animals' singles truly standing head and shoulders above the rest of the set; the lesser known tracks seem to almost pale into obscurity and whether this will change over time is yet to be seen.
To us, the band are at an important crossroads, they could sail off into the sea of mediocrity like so many others in this genre. Or they could become one of the mainstays of British indie in much the same way as Wild Beasts and Radiohead. That said, based on the strength of this evening's performance we’re certainly hoping for the latter, as when Glass Animals are good they’re exceptional.