Album Review: "This is Relevant" by Animal Spirit

Listening to this album should be prefaced with a long view at the artwork designed by Michael J. Slack, who has his own nifty band Dome Dwellers. Slack's illustration plays with the idea of shifting from micro and macro views with molecular structures phasing into the celestial shapes that float above us.

Animal Spirit's new album This is Relevant will take you between primitive introspection and meditative trances as each song can transition from atmospheric momentum to crashing breakdowns in a moment's notice. It's like they're a surf-rock version of The Fiery Furnaces.

The opening track "Dig" begins soft before a seamless transition into an upbeat tempo moved forward by Sam Stroheker's rhythmic singing. Towards the end she hauntingly bellows "dig a hole, dig a hole," setting the tone for a collection of songs in which vocals are always enchanting. In "Creatures of Habit," Andrew Stroheker and Sam trade off on vocalist duties. She warns "you're living life like a bird on a wire, all routine and no desire. Don't you fret there is a future for hire, same routine with no desire" in the same way The Beatles related to a nowhere man that's just a bit like you and me. 

The urge to kick out the jams will get in high gear during "Doom Surf" their second single of the album. A slow opening builds up with a drum swell and Sam's soulful "whoa-oh" introducing the surf-rock vibes of the verse. It ends with a melee free-for-all that any tightly packed crowd would love to rock out to.

Through 9 tracks, This is Relevant, is a maturation for a band moving towards more intricate melodies than their debut album released four years ago. Dentonites can get their hands on albums and other rad merch when they play their album release show at Jagoe House Friday, February 17th, with Dome Dwellers, Kites and Boomerangs, and Biographies (Can we hand out a lineup of the year award, right now?). 

Goes well with: Fiery Furnaces, Warpaint Waaves

On the first listen through the album, my favorite song was "Revenge." On second listen it became "Creature of Habit."

Photos by Mateo Granados
Album cover designed by Michael J. Slack
Header image layout by Brittany Keeton