The Glitch Mob’s new album, Drink the Sea, a collection of soundscapes in the vein of DJs such as RJD2, is a clinic in top-notch music production. From its first track, “Animus Vox,” the band establishes their sound as crisp, deliberate (but not in a slow, plodding way), and majestic. Glitch Mob’s M.O. seems to be layering of simple, repeated themes, usually starting with a synthesizer, that over the course of their songs become fuller – twisted and manipulated to the point of fascination. The songs are clearly thought out, usually without any aimless wandering, and although you don’t know where the band wants to take you, you feel secure that you will not stall on the way, despite the many unexpected breaks Glitch Mob builds in. The production quality itself is particularly top-notch: they are in complete control of themselves, even in the midst of reckless abandon.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the album is the sheer diversity of tones and hints of genres they work into their songs. From the cold, mischievous patter that begins “Bad Wings,” to the almost Middle-Eastern melodic wail in “How to Be Eaten by a Woman,” there seems to be, with the exception of African-style percussion, few tone textures The Glitch Mob are not willing to approach. “How to be Eaten By a Woman,” in particular, showcases their constantly effective mixture of more ethereal and exotic sounds and driving techno / rock basslines and synth runs. The light, distant marimba in “Bad Wings,” combined with the faraway voice and the lush piano and string combination, give the song an almost orchestral feel. The music is both complex and centered at the same time.
Despite these sterling qualities, in the middle, particularly in songs such as “We Swarm,” Glitch Mob occasionally falls into the trap of not varying its timbres enough to compensate for the lack of a discernable melody throughout an entire song. This works when they attach a variety of sounds to keep the listener’s attention, but can sometimes fall into the realm of merely well-produced. And although it is excellently produced, with catchy themes, it’s rarely profoundly moving. But these are minor complaints. Overall, Drink the Sea is worth several listens to get to the bottom of what they’ve got to say.
3.5 / 5 stars