BIG SCARY - Animal 2LP
Hunting. Lurking. Resting. Waking. Animal is a four-legged beast depicting “four stages of the animal” in evolution “from dark to light”. Not Art may have been an ironic title for Tom Iansek and Joanna Syme’s AMP-winning album of 2013, but the disclaimer is inconceivable this year.
The follow-up is an unwieldy monster, as any representation of human duality must be when rendered in episodes of electronic sound and splinters of opaque poetry. The Melbourne duo’s suggestion that any of the four sides are equally valid entry points only confuses the one fact you can take to the bank: Animal plays nicer as she goes along.
The first four songs are primal acts. From the visceral thwack and grunt of “Oxygen” to the carnality of “Savior Add Vice”, drums are high and synths dry, though the horny groove of “Organism” is a feelgood highlight of the sprawl.
Muscles and tones soften in the romantic deconstruction of “The Endless Story”, and by the time we reach the piano splashes and languid falsetto of “Breathe Underwater”, it’s like we’re in a different relationship entirely.
There’s still phase four, and a soulful denouement in the classical strings and piano of “Lamina”. If there’s a remaining glimmer of anxiety, it’s ’cause we know that Lurking and Hunting are only a random record-flip away.