Here we go. Raw and abrasive, Animal Lover is sounding more and more like the 2nd coming of Big Black the more that I listen. The squealing guitar’s harsh cut and ringing harmonics sound the part of Albini, but the rest of the band fleshes out the low end significantly better. What’s the same, though, is the passion, vitriol and energy with which they seem to attack their instruments, and the style of distancing the vocal toward the back of the mix. It sounds as if the singer is maybe being recorded live, sans-effects for the most part across much of the release.
After the screaming cloud of angular guitar noise that is “Plasme,” the opening track, we come to “Lucky Pastures” that immediately recalls the rhythm section from Liars’ first offering that aligned them to the dance-punk bands of the early 2000’s. That slightly crunchy, but still round, bass sound in combination with a punchy drum kit most definitely ties their sounds together. The spaciousness of “Lucky Pastures” provides enough of a contrast to the opening track to show a bit of their range. That toned-down (only a bit) idea is expanded on the album closer “Neighbors” that manages to only barely contain the previous barrage momentarily with a jazz backbeat, clean(er) guitar tone and delicate vocals before showing signs of wanting to blow everything to bits again.
By and large though this is quite a noisy offering. Visceral noise and feedback permeate a good portion of “Guilt” but there are moments, such as in the title track, where the bass and drums are left out in the open to lay down a thin sounding groove, only to explode back into the spiked assault from whence it came. As I keep listening I am hearing a bit of a likeness to Chat Logs, whom I wrote about a few months ago, which is worth a listen if you missed out the first time.
This one is going to be spinning here for a while. Get in on it. The 12″ 45 was just released and is currently available from Learning Curve Records. You can also catch Animal Lover live on the last few of their tour dates if you happen to be in the proximity of the Midwest. Check those dates below and check out the album above.
5-27 Washington, D.C. @ Union Arts DC
5-28 Columbus, OH @ Carabar
5-29 Louisville, KY tba
5-30 St Louis, MO @ MELT
5-31 Carbondale, IL @ Ski House
6-01 Milwaukee, WI @ Quarters