Breaking Down The Glitch Mob

What do you get when you cross hip-hop beats with hard-hitting synths and a banging live performance? The Glitch Mob.

While this Los Angeles-based trio has been performing together since 2006, they only released their first studio album, Drink The Sea, in May of last year. Since then, they’ve been touring their asses off, playing solo gigs in addition to huge festivals like Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Red Rocks.

Drink The Sea is a departure from The Glitch Mob’s original dance floor-approved sound. With this record, they tried to create a work of art that can be appreciated in its entirety again and again. Now that doesn’t mean you can’t get your freak on--songs like "Animus Vox" and "Drive It Like You Stole It" will induce some serious head-nodding and foot-tapping-- it just means that The Glitch Mob have decided to add more depth and “[take] you to a different world.”

This trek into The Glitch Mob’s auditory landscape begins with "Animus Vox." The kick-drum and melodic vocals set the stage, but the song quickly changes pace as it blasts off using heavy percussion and distorted synths as fuel. There’s a reason why it works so well in this video.

Your journey through The Glitch Mob’s soundscape downshifts with "Between Two Points," the album’s only song with prominent vocals. They really turn down the beats per minute on this one.  It flows over you like honey. Both Swan’s mesmerizing voice and her lyrics convey a sad sense of yearning, of desires left unfulfilled. She isn’t specific, but you can fill in the gaps with your own memories and cravings--remember, this is your voyage and the music serves as an emotional guide.

After this solemn reflection, the pace picks up again almost as if the music is challenging you to make the most of the little time we have left. "Drive It Like You Stole It" is nothing short of a call to action. How can you not picture yourself doing something reckless and monumental while listening to this jam? Whether you’re manning up to make a move on the girl you love, or getting ready to play in the championship game, or saving a kangaroo from a flood, it will be much more epic while listening to "Drive It Like You Stole It."

Drink The Sea finishes off with the soothing "Starve The Ego, Feed The Soul." It’s the cool down to a hard workout or the car ride home after one hell of a mushroom trip in Joshua Tree. You’re tired and sad to be returning to reality but this song will help you readjust. Look on the bright side: you can always listen to the album again.

The entire album features bass-laden beats and super-charged synth riffs reminiscent of Ratatat. In fact, Ratatat is a good comparison to make to The Glitch Mob’s live performances. Both groups have the tough task of transforming electronic music composed using computers into an entertaining live show. Yet neither group can be called DJs in the traditional sense because they don’t use turntables to mix other people’s songs together. Instead, they play their songs live like a conventional band would. To do this, The Glitch Mob uses a multi-touch device called a Lemur and drums to play each sound you hear during their shows. It’s harder than you think.  Look for them on stage this weekend.

Fortunately, this is where The Glitch Mob excels. They bring Drink The Sea to life in a way that 3 guys huddled behind a computer screen really can’t. Don’t expect to hear an exact copy of the album either. While their sets have a predetermined order, they leave room for improvisation and even add in some hip-hop lyrics for good measure.

Besides the energized renditions of their original songs, remixes, and the dynamic nature of the trio performing, there is one more thing that makes The Glitch Mob’s live sets memorable: BASS. Get ready for an auditory and visual adventure with an extra dose of womp sauce. You can feel the music at their shows, and that adds a whole new dimension to the experience. And I’m not just talking about loud noises. I’m talking about the low frequency sounds that your computer speakers can’t produce. The bass line is a large part of what makes "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes such an awesome song. Hopefully, we’ll get to hear (and feel) that classic bass riff come to life on Saturday.

Don't miss The Glitch Mob at the White Party this Saturday, February 26th in the Scripps Garage.  Doors open at 9:30pm.