Alex G - God Save The Animals

Regular price $ 26.99

Following the success in the indie/alternative sphere of Beach Music (2015) and Rocket (2017), Alex Giannascoli's 2019 album, House of Sugar, was the dedicated home-recordist's first to be at least partly tracked in a professional studio. Returning to that record's densely layered, otherworldly, highly manipulated sonic approach, ninth album God Save the Animals takes things yet a step further. Again working with backing players -- here, Samuel Acchione (guitar/banjo), John Heywood (bass), Tom Kelly (drums), Molly Germer (strings, voice), and Jessica Lea Mayfield (voice on "After All") -- he also collaborated with a half-dozen engineers at five different studios across the Northeast, giving them each the nebulous instruction to offer their "best" recording quality. The result is Alex G's most disjointed, eerie, and dynamic outing yet -- descriptions that could also be applied collectively to the core songs. Ranging from spare and rustic ("Miracles") to druggy and impenetrable ("No Bitterness," "Headroom Piano"), the album's artful mixing (by co-producer Jacob Portrait), which explores left-right balance as well as distance and volume, is another distinctive element of its off-kilter sound. Even a tuneful, organic entry like "Runner" plays with what ultimately sounds like multi-tracked instruments as well as vocals. After setting the stage with "After All," a mix of raw acoustic timbres and ghostly, distorted vocals (by Jessica Lea Mayfield, who, with vocal effects of her own, is nearly indistinguishable from Alex G's sped-up or pitched-up vocals elsewhere in his catalog), he eases listeners in with "Runner" and the likewise guitar-based "Mission" before diving deeper into surreal songscapes. The demonic (or god-like?) vocals of "S.D.O.S.," the warbled, off-pitch tones and insistent whispers of "Ain't It Easy," and the juxtaposition of synths, manipulated voice samples, and banjo on "Immunity" are just some of the components in what comes next. After drawing focus to production sometimes at the expense of the rest, the often suffocating 13-track set cracks open a window at the end with the pairing of the rickety "Miracles" and "Forgive," an anguished, ruminative folk-rock jam that slowly fades out to close an album that, if challenging, successfully mixes religious motifs with a balance of tactile, earthbound textures and hypnotically dreamy, alien atmospheres.

1. "After All" 3:19
2. "Runner" 2:36
3. "Mission" 3:05
4. "S.D.O.S" 2:50
5. "No Bitterness" 3:38
6. "Ain't It Easy" 2:54
7. "Cross the Sea" 3:36
8. "Blessing" 3:05
9. "Early Morning Waiting" 4:03
10. "Immunity" 3:50
11. "Headroom Piano" 2:53
12. "Miracles" 3:44
13. "Forgive" 4:26