I’ve been waiting to listen to this album for a very long time. To me, anything involving Matt Embree, or any of the other members of the Rx Bandits for that matter, is definetly worth a listen. Last year’s Tiger and the Duke was an amazing, groundbreaking album. Although it consisted of nine tracks, only four of which were actual full band songs, Tiger was an amazing album. Anthony Green’s sirenic voice, along with Embree’s impeccable and innovative guitarwork, and the assistance of a couple of the creative guys from the now-defunct Finch, came together to form what was one of my favorite listens of 2005.
For those of you who haven’t heard of The Sound of Animals Fighting, the basic premise is this: an amalgam of musicians from different bands, whose identities are concealed by the masks of different animals, come together to form a progressive, experimental group of which the world has never seen the likes of. So technically I can’t say with certainty who is in the band, seeing as their faces are hidden. But listen to TatD and tell me that isn’t Anthony Green. Their first album was critically acclaimed for its combination of innovative instrumentals with that alternative, post-hardcore sound seen in bands such as Saosin, Rx Bandits, and others of similar genre.
With that said, TSOAF’s sophomore effort, Lover, the Lord Has Left Us…, sounds nothing like their debut release. Don’t expect any aggressive tracks such as Tiger and the Duke’s “Act I: Chasing Suns.” If I were to describe Lover in one word, it would have to be…weird. Now let’s not get the wrong idea. If anything, the band goes beyond Tiger and further strengthens their status as pioneers in the experimental genre. I find it really hard to even begin comprehending how the writing process of Lover’s tracks begin. They use such wide, varying combinations of sounds to build each track on the album. However, there is a greater focus on the technical side of the music and incorporating unconventional sounds rather than on traditional instruments. This is both good and bad. Although the band’s music is very (and I emphasize on very) unique, listeners may lose themselves in an ocean of noise; as interesting the sound of bongos and indian chants may be, I often found myself forgetting I was actually listening to the new TSOAF cd. I really miss their defining guitar riffs and drumming. But hey, you still got Anthony Green, as well as Chiodos’ Craig Owens and Days Away’s Keith Goodwin joining the vocal line-up! Green, as always, does a great job, but unfortunately doesn’t strain his voice as much on this record as he did on the previous one with his trademark scream. Owens’ voice goes perfectly with the music, especially on “Horses in the Sky” (my favorite track off the album). But now you can’t even tell who is behind the mechanics of the album. Because there is seldom any really defined guitar part, you cannot tell, for example, whether Matt Embree is actually helping out on the album or not.
So that’s my spiel on the album. I’d be interested in listening to what you guys have to say about it, especially those of you who have listened to Tiger and the Duke. Here are a few tracks from the album…
And what the hell, why not a couple tracks from Tiger and the Duke!
BONUS: And while we’re on the topic of Rx Bandits side projects, here’s a song by a band called Satori. Led by Rx saxophonist Steven Borth, Satori makes some nice feel-good reggae-like music. This song could’ve made it on my upcoming spring mix since it always makes me smile, but there’s so many others to choose I figured I just might as well slip it in here.