Look Mexico - This Is Animal Music (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Look Mexico

This Is Animal Music (2007)


"You can be light-hearted, but you can't be funny / You can make a struggle, but you won't make money / You can scream, but you can't be loud / You might smile, but you can't act proud," singer Matt Agrella playfully warns over the gorgeous and relaxed instrumentation of "Done and Done," where Look Mexico sound as simultaneously relaxed and focused as one could possibly hope for.

If American Football had traded their somber musings for a more upbeat demeanor, Look Mexico would have had an older twin brother. The fact is, both exemplify everything good that can result from jazzy instrumentation and cohesive song structures. Look Mexico just chooses to do this with a grin from ear to ear.

But Midwestern emo comparisons aside, the band is able to succeed very well on its own merit. Whether whimsically rising and falling with slight vocal accompaniment, or playfully meandering along as "I Had I a Wrench, And I Hit Him," and "Watch Out for This" respectively display, there's an inherent level of comfort in vocals and instrumentation alike. The ebb and flow never ceases to provide tangible emotion, nor the perfect intonations for it to travel in on. Agrella reflects on his childhood through an uncommon observation, and the rhythm on which these words are told make them seem just that much more honest. "The heart of youth and growing needs, is an argument / This invention, the mighty wheel / How it has changed us all," he sings in "Me and My Dad Built Her," and nobody, for even a second, can question how much he means it.

The instrumental side of the band is able to speak in equal volumes, as "Comin' in Hot with a Side of Bacon" makes unquestionably clear. Four minutes may not seem like a very long time, but Look Mexico is able to pack so many great riffs and fluid transitions into that timespan that all that's left to wonder, is why you hadn't heard of them sooner.

The charming melodies established by the band's four members hook you instantly, and when things get turned up a notch or two, they stay with a solid linear vision. Each song, instrumental or not, has a point A and a point B; the paths are always gorgeous, and you never have time to wonder where things are going. The present moment, well, it's perfect enough.