Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Listen: Glass Animals - "Love Lockdown" (Kanye West cover)

16 July 2014, 10:45 | Written by Maya Hambro

​Rappers attempting to sing is arguably a somewhat precarious pursuit. From Future to Drake, the whole process can end in the kind vocal manipulation that leaves you wondering whether you’re listening to a human or a computer. The most famous example of such an endeavour is undoubtedly Kanye West’s fourth album, the somewhat disappointingly received 808s and Heartbreak, which is, according to who you ask, either a staggering failure wrapped up in layers of autotune, or a shatteringly emotive take on the nature of bereavement.

Glass Animals seem to be in the latter camp, and thus, in the spirit of bizarre-but-wonderful covers, decided to finally record and release their own take on the lead single from that same album: “Love Lockdown”, which they first performed live on Australia’s Triple J earlier this year. It has subsequently become a key (and very popular) part of their live set.

Recorded and produced by singer Dave Bayley, the track has been suitably repurposed to suit his quiet, leading tone. Where Kanye’s vocal was pleading, heady with the desperation and pain that shot through the accompanying longplayer, Bayley has stripped back all obvious electronics, replacing them with handclaps, heavy breathing and even, at one point, a cough. It’s all urged gently along by bassist Edmund Irwin-Singer, adding to layers that overlap rather than weigh each other down and playing off a beat that, at first listen, doesn’t sound too far removed from R Kelly’s classic “Ignition (Remix)”.

Glass Animals have spoken pretty extensively about their love of hip-hop, and the influential part in plays in their writing. Covering a Kanye West song is a bold choice, and had they fallen under the weight of expectation or struck too deferential a tone their cover could have ended up a poor, or worse still, boring imitation. Instead they re-envisioned it: no longer a tale of a regretful lover, but the callous excuses of a cad; two and a half minutes of energy and pain transformed into an mellifluous slow-jam by four men who quickly seem to be becoming the masters of their own gorgeous brand of indie RnB. ​

Tickets for Glass Animals’ October headline shows in the UK, are available now via the band’s website. Their debut album, Zaba, is out now.

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