Produced by Animal Games and Bob Horn
Recorded & Mixed by Bob Horn at Echo Bar Studios in North Hollywood, CA
Mastered by Brad Blackwood at Euphonic Masters in Memphis, TN
Release Date:13 December 2012
Chris Buxton-Smith – Vocals
Frank Tobias – Guitars
Juan Pablo Grado – Bass
Daniel Gonzalez – Keyboards, guitars
Gerry Doot – Drums
Christian Deoliveira – Percussion, Trombone
Additional vocals on Little Ghosts and Orchards by Marley Otto
While there are not many perks to getting older, there is one thing that I love about being my age. It means I was fortunate enough to have come of age in the late seventies and early eighties, and as a consequence, I was weaned on the great early heady days of what is often referred to alternative music. I am talking about things like The Alarm, The Talking Heads, Gang of Four, The Waterboys, and Violent Femmes. I could go on, but you get the idea. It was a very exciting time for one to be cutting their teeth on music, and sadly an era that seems to have ended. At least that is what I thought until I stumbled on Animal Games.
Animal Games encompasses that entire era in their seven cut self titled second album (the first being an ep). It is, kind of, my entire musical youthful musical experience in seven solid cuts. So here is a track by track breakdown of Animal Games:
1) Berlin: I don’t know what our obsession was with Berlin in the eighties. I mean it got so bad that an English kid from Ely, Cambridgeshire by the name of Andrew William Harvey Taylor would change his name to Andrew Eldritch and affect a Prussian accent. I guess it was because German youth were still a little messed up from World War II, and had decided that nothing was verboten so they were badass. From its opening riff Berlin lets the listener know exactly what Animal Games is all about. It has the previously mentioned eighties feel, but with a modern twist. I would daresay that I can easily envision this song being played in a set by The Cult, Big Country, or even The Alram (perhaps sandwiched between The Stand and Spirit of ’76)
2) Fallout: Perhaps it is just me, but this song has a Psychedelic Furs sound, except with Roland Gift as the lead singer. It is exactly a cross between these two disparate styles, and is wholly captivating. It also focuses on Nuclear War, which was a great concern for my generation, and probably the reason many of my contemporaries took so many drugs.
3) Lily: This song, which would make a great single, has a sort of post Stan Ridgeway, Andrew Prieboy era Wall Of Voodoo sound to it, but it is also entirely original. Also what good is an early alternative era sounding album without a wistful, one that got away, kind of song.
4) Little Ghosts: Another great track, it also would make a great montage sequence for a film like Valley Girl, Some Kind of Wonderful, or even Say Anything. It just deserves John Hughes or Cameron Crowe.
5) Orchards: A sort of Midnight Oil song, but in no way derivative. Great western style guitar work, and a solid bass line from both guitar and drums.
6) Radiator: An incredibly hypnotic song with its measured drum beats, and lulling vocals. One will also be hard-pressed to not bop around in their seat a little.
7) The Tragedy: An excellent choice to close the album with. It is both musically catchy and lyrically appealing. It is also simultaneously depressing and uplifting, though slightly more the latter.
Well there you have it, Animal Games in a nutshell. Animal Games walks the line between nostalgia and originality with all the skill of Nic Wallenda crossing Niagara Falls. I urge you to take the time to give them a listen, and to spend a few buck on their album.