Psychedelic indie rockers and past USC Springfest headliners Glass Animals have come out with their second single in recent months after a two-year hiatus — and it does not disappoint. “Your Love (Déjà Vu)” was released Wednesday on BBC Radio 1.
The song touches on an unhealthy relationship and the alluring nature of something that can hurt us, and yet, we still can’t get enough. In the song’s cascading pre-chorus, Bayley sings:
“Too far from over you / Beams from your M2 are blowin’ through my room / And now you lay down in my shoes / You dyed your hair blue / Oh, so much déjà vu”
Clearly, through the words, there is a struggle between being drawn to someone’s mystifying qualities while knowing that you’ve been around these parts before. You’ve done this, and deep down, you know how it ends.
Glass Animals, with this fresh, personal track, deliver a new mood alongside their classic atmospheric musical production. Infamous for their ambiguous and whimsical lyricism, Glass Animals is not a band that often writes from personal experience. In fact, their last album in 2016, “How to Be a Human Being,” was a concept piece, a collection of 11 songs that were each inspired by the stories of different people that lead singer Dave Bayley met while traveling. Nevertheless, their dreamy lyrics have never had a problem with being catchy and have sparked many discussions in fan forums for years — though fans won’t have to do much theorizing about the meaning behind “Your Love (Déjà Vu).”
In the on-air interview proceeding the drop with BBC Radio 1, Bayley spoke of the meaning behind the lyrics.
“I think we’ve all found ourselves in fucked up relationships that make us feel sad and helpless,” Bayley said in the interview. “A relationship that we know on some level is going to keep breaking our hearts. We let that person back into their lives over and over again, even though it always ends the same … maybe you find some strange comfort in the chaos.”
The band does not hold back on producing the otherworldly musical soundscape that they are so famous for. A new effect, a new instrument even, can be discovered on a 100th repeat of a Glass Animals song. (If you’re really trying to challenge yourself, check out “Mama’s Gun” off HTBAHB — you’ll lose track of the myriad of sounds you can pick out when you really listen.)
The track includes psychedelic guitar trills that serve as the cherry on top of the chorus sundae, a flute riff that adds a unique element to set this song apart from their other stuff and, of course, Bayley’s smooth and layered vocals, which no Glass Animals song is complete without.
The song is carried by a consistent and punchy drum beat that works in harmony with Bayley’s singing to deliver on the high points of the lyrics. It also supports the characteristic sounds, most notably that playful up-down riff of the flute. The wind instrument’s presence is unconventional in the indie-rock genre, and it hasn’t really appeared often in their other music. In this song, the flute spot-lit and serves as the centerpiece of the single.
“Your Love” paves the way for a new era of Glass Animals. With this new song, the band gives us something deep and a little closer to home for the first time. Bayley bears all in a series of verses and choruses that define a toxic, can’t-get-enough, love-hate relationship.
It’s exciting, as he has time and time again shown that he is capable of touching on the darker aspects of the human experience, most notably in “Agnes” off HTBAHB and “Cocoa Hooves” off Zaba. So now that he is pointing that lens at himself, fans should prepare for an album that showcases vulnerability — for a band with a discography like Glass Animals, that will always be an artistically risky turn to take.
The vulnerability makes sense though, as their aforementioned hiatus was one that was forced upon them as a result of a near-fatal bicycle accident that their drummer got into before their North American tour last fall. In the interview, Joe Seaward spoke about how it’s a miracle he gets to even make music and perform again as they weren’t sure he’d be able to do “much of anything” after the crash. And after two years of slow recovery, a process through which the band made sure to keep the fans updated, Joe sis gearing up to be back on the road for the Glass Animals “Déjà Vu” tour, a smaller, instantly sold out series of UK and North American shows.
If you were lucky enough to score tickets, Glass Animals will be performing at the Troubadour in West Hollywood on March 11. If not, a near-future larger tour and perhaps even an album release is a bit unknown at the moment. Nevertheless, a new even-more psychedelic, even-more “vibey” era of Glass Animals has descended upon us, and it feels like déjà vu.