The Sound of Animals Fighting

Lover, The Lord Has Left Us...

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The Sound of Animals Fighting isn't so much a band as it is Equal Vision Records' version of 4AD's old in-house studio party This Mortal Coil: the band -- who appear in creepy-cute animal masks in all of their photos and use pseudonyms derived from same -- has no fixed lineup, but includes members of RX Bandits, Circa Survive, Chiodos, Days Away, and the Autumns. Freed from expectations of their own bands, the group creates an utterly bizarre but often engrossing blend of experimental noise and heavy stoner metal. Imagine if Sun City Girls and Meat Puppets had collaborated circa 1986 and the combination of twangy guitar riffs, heavily processed vocals, and arrhythmic bangs and squeaks of the eight-minute centerpiece "Stockhausen, Es Ist Ihr Gehrin, Das Ich Suche" will start to make a bit more sense. Supposedly recorded with each member of the band playing in complete isolation under the direction of producer and mastermind Rich Balling, unable to hear what was on the other tracks, the album has the fractured and occasionally tedious feel of a spontaneous "happening," but at times, everything comes together into actual songs like the haunting "Skullflower," a genuinely pretty song that's only strengthened by the random noise bursts that flit across it.

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