Sunday, 18 March 2012

Slow Animal - Slow Animal

I got into Slow Animal a year or so ago, after their first initial demos were plugged on Pitchfork. They soon became a firm favourite, playing a distorted, loud, and fierce blend of garage rock and surf rock. Of course, I can hear your inner monologue from here chirping ‘oh jeez, another surfy garage band? like that hasn’t been hammered into the ground’ And I know. But they’re not mock imitations of Wavves and Jay Reatard like Bleeding Knees Club or something. They’re special. Honest.

What makes them worth checking out is that they pack the virtual aggression and energy of a punk band with the breezy and hazy chords and simplistic beats most associated with garage/surf bands. Plus, they’ll go from that to suddenly transferring into crashing cymbals and powerful power chords. They’re very much an energy building band. They bring more to the floor than most ‘friend’ bands that can only play major bar chords and get sporadic claps from mildly amused audience members who are politely trying to remind themselves that high amounts of energy isn’t always key to a good band. And even if that is true, Slow Animal aren’t a band that leave you waiting for loud attacks and catchy riffs. They give it to you from the start.

With their self titled debut album, it is evident they have progressed since their initial demos. The energy is higher, the drumming is fiercer, the songs are more detailed. A lot of the initial demos seemed to centre on small helpings of chords that often repeated. Not to say that is a bad thing, a they’re still great songs, but with their debut release, the songs are a lot more fleshed out and mature. The band have evidently progressed.

In the new stuff, there are repetitive elements, sure, but there is still a clear feel that the band aren’t focused on rewriting the same songs. And sure, there are typical calling cards, such as there use off their distinctive harmonies and hazy demeanour, but they still write bloody good songs. Songs like ‘Teenage Strange’, ‘Liar’ and ‘Rather Have My Eyes Closed’ stand out in particular - their unusual, yet catchy chord usage and playing styles, going from passive to intense, ultimately fill the songs out well.

Overall, I was very pleased with SA’s debut release and I know I’ll be returning to it in the future. A nice start to your forthcoming summer.

Oh, also, they’re giving their album away for free on their website - - so there really isn’t an excuse not to check these fuckers out.  
Eliot Humphreys

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