The Hungry Animals have a taste for brightly drunk music, the kind that settles nicely as if on the verge of a fantastic passing out. The songs are dripping with groove and low-key vibes, vocals effortlessly lazy but pitch intact. The drive comes and goes, the crunch intermittent as well – chords jumbled between indie rock and timid hard rock. The Strokes and Coldplay are definitely making some vicarious appearances on Agneta, but the tone isn’t extravagant or super commercial either. It’s all very mellow and artful, like a slow walk along the river in fall.
As far as musicianship goes, this band uses less and creates more with simple applications from a modest rig, but chosen at the right time and with the right intention. Bell hits to the cymbal paired with sparing guitar and loose vocals. Sometimes there’s not even a pulse, but you follow their path with ease. Every track makes an attempt at vulnerability and it never seems forced, which is a nod at some honest songwriting and continuity throughout the content/composition relationship. Agneta speaks like an album instead of just a collection of songs. In some way, the songs showcase brazen instrumentation and murky themes of angst or joy like a constant contrasting emotional leveler.
“Methylphenidate” wins for strangest title. More importantly, it has well crafted introduction and shows off the different sides of Hungry Animals in a tightly wrapped minute. The snares buzz and tap while the guitar creates tension all leading up to a rolling 6/8 feel that turns up the fierce just a touch. Then the somewhat distant, treble heavy riffing enters and we get a feel for basic motifs to come.
“Hover” might sound a little reggae with a slight alteration of beat, but it plays like an island ‘80s jam that did a barrel roll in a dirty alley. There’s a great guitar break on “Don’t Wait Up” that hits hard but still has a gentle and passionate resonance. The bass is present, but soft and just as the waves of sound seem to overbear they fade back into a lullaby rendering. This album is about ebb and flow and if the wind is right, it will certainly take you somewhere.
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