With We Animals, Brooklyn's Monogold develop the new wave impressions of their previous release, Waves, into a sharper brand of psychedelic indie pop. Still lush but less hazy, it's an assertive, colorful sound with keys, guitars, effects, drums, and gliding melodies, all active and demanding attention, like a compelling blend of Animal Collective and Fleet Foxes. The glue that guides the whole vista is singer Keith Kelly's savory falsetto. From the opening seconds of "Traps/Offerings," the band establishes its flair for hooks, percussive layers, and wide pitch ranges featuring Kelly. The track builds to play with meter, rhythmically complex without ever approaching a more intellectual, prog experience, using handclaps and tambourine to keep the tone light. Like most of the album, it's fun while still being sophisticated. Though mostly danceable, things slow down and mellow out a couple of times on the record, including the closer, "Yellow Blue June," with its arpeggiated acoustic guitar chords and exposed falsetto ("Somewhere there's something/Knowing and calling your name/Into the warm air"). Even the simpler moments are well executed and interesting, exploiting rhythm and range. The impressionistic, nature-themed lyrics are not often easy to discern and take a back seat to the (reverbed) vocal melodic lines themselves. Here, rhythm and melody are king and queen. All in all, We Animals is a winning evolution for Monogold, with a complex flavor that goes down easy.
AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson