Society always celebrates the records that top the Billboard 200 album chart. Back of The Billboards is a Music Times weekly segment that looks at the opposite end: the new record that finished closest to the back of the Billboard 200 for the previous week. We hope to give a fighting chance to the bands you haven't heard of. This week we look at 'ZABA,' the debut album from psychedelic R&B upstarts Glass Animals.
WHO: Glass Animals
Your correspondent was somewhat shocked to find that this week's entry to the Back of The Billboards segment was ZABA, the debut album from Oxford group Glass Animals. We never would have guessed that the band would top the chart, yet we anticipated a much higher first week of sales for the psychedelic upstarts. After all, you could hardly turn on an alternative music station during the last year without hearing either "Gooey" or "Black Mambo." Instead, the band finally breaks into the Billboard 200 more than a year after the record dropped.
Alas, such is the disconnect between the radio and the album charts.
If you happen to be among those who didn't catch those tracks on the airwaves, understand that although the band is certainly "pop," the "psychedelic" element makes the collection of songs here uncomfortable to listen to, and not in a bad way. Fans of "Gooey" and "Black Mambo" will note that, while the tracks are most certainly sexy in approach, there's something vaguely intimidating about Dave Bayley's soft vocals, and something eerie about the ambient echoes of the instrumentals behind him.
The lurking horror mounts throughout the album, from the jungle noises of "Walla Walla" (reminiscent of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Run Through The Jungle") and Bayley warns that "you can't run so you must hide" during "Wyrd." The mood works to the band's benefit, keeping listeners on their toes where other pop albums might trail off during latter tracks.