Even with the volume turned down to 1, you could still hear Bad Animals leaking through my headphones from five feet away. This band is never off, and always loud. But unlike many other rowdy artists, Bad Animals doesn’t rely on shocking lyrics, over-the-top instrumentals or excessive screaming. They simply channel so much emotion into one track that the music just bursts with sound and energy. With their punk rock roots and fiery vocals, it’s impossible to stay still while listening. Their newest record All the Shakes is an explosion of live recordings that make you feel like you’re there at the show. And live shows are certainly a strength of the band. Watching videos of their performances will have you moments away from buying a plane ticket to Seattle to see them with your own eyes.
Bad Animals is one of those you’ll wish you would have followed when they make it to the Billboards top 100. They’re Seattle musicians through and through: Singer Wallace Brown brings lyrics with the same messages of misery and heaven recited by Kurt Cobain, and their passion filled jams (especially the last track “Wishing Well”) sound like they belong on a Foo Fighters record. Despite their shared style and cloudy inspirations with other classic northwesterners, Bad Animals finds their own modern and artful sound free from those who came before them. In fact, the band should be defined as a new type of classic. The music is not just passionate, but masterfully written and performed.
“Spitbox” is the perfect way to set up this energetic album. It throws the listener into a musical eddy that will, over the course of 11 tracks, engulf them and spit them out the other side. From here, the record has a bit of something for everyone -- bluesy bass lines that could compete with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, mind blowing and complex drum beats, and evocative, badass vocals. This band is one that won’t leave your head and heart easily. It’s impossible to not tap your foot, and to hum along with the catchy melodies.
After a couple of listens through, an appreciation for Brown’s lyrics is inevitable - “Now I’m really out of time / And I don’t know if it’s gonna be alright / My life’s been a waste of time / Got a black hole in my mind.” Painfully honest. But what else is music for, if not a cathartic channel for our fears and insecurities. It’s a clever way of dealing with life; scream your darkest words over a guitar that makes it all into a work of art.
This music is unapologetic, loud, and somehow still so beautiful. The band’s chemistry has allowed the members to shine individually, and as a whole. I hope someday I can see them live and feel as if I’m a part of it as well.
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