Recorded at the same time as their debut Gwylo and a sort-of companion to it, Animals finds the Lot Six once again showing how they know their way around some righteously tweaked noise for the turn-of-the-nineties indie-rocker at heart. Though admittedly that's a bit unfair -- whether it's the at once stark and bemusing cryptic album artwork, or the website address in the liner notes, the Lot Six are of a new millennium and have their own fish to fry. The live wire edge that characterizes the quartet at its flat-out best is fully present. Check out the increasingly desperate then resigned build of both vocals and music on "All So Nice to Know" or "Magnetic Eyes," the secret highlight of the album, blending a chorus of sheer tension and verses of musical and lyrical yearning. The hints of variety that helped make Gwylo an often unexpected listen crop up here as well. "Deviltown" starts out with an almost classic rock style rave-up, and even if the more angular edge familiar elsewhere on the album comes through, there's a way the song is almost the band's own personal fist-pumping anthem. Then there's the country-twang hop of "My Son," and the almost (if not quite) winsome, acoustic/electric blend "Save Yourself," not to mention the forlorn "The Tiniest Tin," which could rival Black Heart Procession for sheer desolation. A few moments, to be sure, come across as recreation rather than innovation -- "Freezin' Scene" rocks on the one hand but on the other could easily be the Pixies slam-crashed into Drive Like Jehu's van somewhere on crossing Midwest tour itineraries, for instance. But every band starts off inspired by its heroes, and if the Lot Six can keep up with what they've already done, the future could yet look pretty damn bright all around.
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