Animal Youth - Animal (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Animal Youth

Animal (2017)

Weyrd Son Records

Animal Youth are a Brussels-based trio that focus on dark romance. They were sculpted from the remains of noise-punk group Siamese Queens and as their bio adds "take cues from the Cocteau Twins’ enigmatic persona, The Jesus and Mary Chain’s white-knuckle grip on noise, and the nimble theatricality of Echo & The Bunnymen". That's pretty eye-catching. You know what's ear-catching? How they create a hazy, dream pop atmosphere while painting moody songs for fans of The Cure, Interpol, Morrissey and My Bloody Valentine on their debut full-length Animal.

The Euro flair here runs deep but you've got cryptic songs under a distorted spine such as "In Heaven" and "Eat You Alive" which have surprisingly strong bass-heavy melodies. Think of Drug Church if they went shoegaze. "Feeling" is best indicative of the band's sound -- catchy, melodic and addictive -- signaling their growth from 2016's Youth EP. Overall, the record's a pensive one about love, fracture and rebirth (as "Darkest Place" hints) with vocalist and guitarist Guy Tournay keeping you immersed in stories we could all relate to, and wish we didn't have to experience. Then again, there's nothing wrong with extracting some beauty from the pain.