Friday 22 March 2013

Animal City - See You In The Funny Pages

Album review by

This is the second album from Chicago quartet Animal City, and at a daunting sixteen tracks long you get the impression that they can't be short of ideas. They're keen to point out in their bio that despite first impressions they're not just a "gang of goofballs who just happen to have amps laying around the basement". However, we believe that statement (you can read it in full here) is actually part of the joke. From what we can make out, Animal City are a goofy band, there is humour in their music, there are self-depreciating lyrics and they certainly don't take things entirely seriously. Handily, they also have the ability to write some very good songs.

The lyrics to opener 'Worst Kinda Crush' are hardly Dostoyevski, but there's no denying it's a corker of a tune. Elsewhere things are a little hit and miss as they flit between sounding a bit like They Might Be Giants, a bit like Weezer and a bit like Pixies. On closer examination you realise that this isn't such an off-puttingly long album either. Many tracks are under two minutes in length, the shortest being 'It's A Girl' which is a full 25 seconds of someone strumming a guitar and singing "I'm in love with a girl, I can't believe it's a girl, but it's a girl." Like we said, don't believe a word they say about being serious. Sadly this deliberately immature approach ruins things somewhat.

It's not that Animal City need to be deadly serious, there's plenty of room for humour, but too much becomes distracting, especially when we know they can write light-hearted songs that are genuinely very good. So unless you've had a few spliffs you may need to pick though the album and avoid the likes of 'Orphan Husband' and 'Stink Eye Bring'. Other highlights are 'Cave Boy Want', 'The Bosmoti Rice', 'Anna Got A Devito' and 'Funny Business'. 'Basically 'See You In The Funny Pages' isn't a bad album, parts of it are undeniably good, but in general your opinion with largely depend on your frame of mind at the time.

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