Them Animals, a garage rock band from Baltimore, Maryland, was originally formed in 2014 by core members Jamie Zeller (Guitar, Vocals) and Chris Stoll (Guitar), and enhanced with the addition of Chris Curran (Drums) in 2016. Their self-titled EP released this year only presents one problem, you can never turn it up loud enough! This is the one you plug in, turn up and play as loud as you can because it is that good. This is one of those rare albums/groups that truly represent raw power and soul without the unnecessary bells and whistles. I was most impressed with the recording, which does not sound like the usual overly-produced crap but rather much more real, raw, warm and with natural ambience and a stylish spring reverb sound, which you don’t hear very often, so that’s cool. I also like how they ‘overdrive’ the vocals sometimes, it actually works very well.
The overdriven guitar tones are great too – they sound like amp cabs, not the usual dry, direct-inject sound you usually hear. I don’t have any liner notes to reveal anything about the recording, so I don’t have the facts to back me up. But it sounds like that to me, and that’s what should matter to my ears…and yours anyway.
How Them Animals get that gritty visceral raw sound is their business not ours! I’m sure you could point to half a dozen great bands Them Animals may or may not remind you of, but I don’t much care about all that. It’s just really well-executed rock and blues with a proper rock recording which doesn’t make everything sound like most over compressed fake alt-rock.
Like many of rock’s purest bands, Them Animals leap into the fray fully fleshed out and yet with plenty of room to grow. They follow no formulaic pattern and at the same time recall many of rock’s greatest moments from the second they unleash their unbridled energy on the opening track, “The Grass is Turning Blue”. You’ll quickly assume that these guys are taking no prisoners…and you’re right.
“Day After Day” rides in smoothly on a thumping drum beat and count-in before unwinding into a hypnotic ear-charmer. “Losing Feeling” will grab you from the first note, I can guarantee you of that. Through some fancy guitar chicanery the band appears to whip out, this track will worm its way into your brain and frizzle it out.
Next comes the explosive and fast paced “Next To Nothing”, and just when you think things couldn’t get any more interesting, Them Animals surprise us once more with “Moving Pictures”. This track reaches a higher echelon of musical artistry. It’s a throwback to the classic psychedelic sound, but it’s so rich in its simplicity that it’s deceptive with just one listen.
This EP sincerely has no flaws and it certainly is a few levels up from the current competition. This is 2017 and there aren’t many bands out there that can run with Them Animals. They’re probably all too busy setting up the latest studio hardware or out purchasing the trendiest DAWs, to spend time messing about with noisy instruments and writing songs…