Glass Animals shatter US chart record ahead of visit to Edinburgh

Slow and steady wins the race. Just ask Glass Animals, the Edinburgh-bound band who have just set a new US chart record for the longest climb into the top 10.

Thursday, 18th November 2021, 4:55 pm
Glass Animals visit Edinburgh on Monday, having just broken a US chart record. Photo: Pooneh Ghana.

The Oxford indie outfit, who visit the Usher Hall on Monday, made history last week when their slow-burning hit, Heat Waves, reached the top 10 of the Billboard singles chart after 42 weeks in the top 100.

The Mercury Prize nominees beat American Idol winner Carrie Underwood’s Before He Cheats, who held the previous record of 38 weeks.

The sleeper hit, first released in June 2020, secured the landmark achievement after it climbed from 13th to number 10.

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The track, from their third album Dreamland, released in 2020, initially gained traction on the social media app TikTok.

It reached fifth spot on the UK singles chart after a similarly drawn-out journey over 35 weeks.

It comes on the back of the band being nominated in October for two American Music Awards.

Frontman Dave Bayley, who wrote and produced Heat Waves, explains it had its roots as far back as May 2018.

“We were winding down from touring our second album and I hired a studio in north London called The Church,” says the singer, who formed the band in 2010, with childhood friend Joe Seaward, Ed Irwin-Singer and Drew MacFarlane.

“I was in the little basement room, which used to be the kitchen – and I've recently found out that's where Bob Dylan used to sit and write. He only wanted to be in the kitchen, apparently.

“Anyway, I spent all day there… but I was fishing and catching rubbish. At the end of the day, I was ready to go home, but I just picked up a guitar to try one more time, and I just played those chords.”

Glass Animals’ newfound chart success follows what was a tumultuous period for band.

Three years ago, drummer Seaward collided with a lorry while cycling in Dublin – his leg was broken and he suffered a complex skull fracture.

But following neurosurgery he made an astonishing recovery, regaining his speech and rejoining the psychedelic-pop band for a series of emotionally-charged gigs.

Bayley remained at his bedside in the weeks following the crash.

“I was lying to his parents for quite a long time,” he recalls. “I was saying ‘Oh, it’s absolutely fine, he’s going to be totally fine, don’t worry.’

“But really inside I was like ‘He’s probably never going to play the drums again’.”

The question of whether Seaward would ever play again forced the band to face existential questions.

Could they continue to play as Glass Animals without him?

“We basically didn’t know whether he was going to survive, or even if he was going to recover enough to talk or walk again,” says Bayley.

“That led to questions about the band continuing at all.

“The future seemed pretty bleak.”

As the tortoise-like chart success of Heat Waves shows, the future for Glass Animals is now anything but bleak.

Glass Animals, Usher Hall, Lothian Road, Monday, doors 7pm

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