Zoo Animal – s/t

Zoo Animal - s/t

The Minneapolis trio known as Zoo Animal maximize the sound from their minimal instrumentation (guitar, bass, drums) by creating songs that are both earthy and comforting while being raw and edgy.

A variety of moods are expressed over the course of the album’s 15 tracks, making for a somewhat uneven listen. The band wind their way through assorted arrangements, sometimes coaxing muscular chords and shifting dynamics reminiscent of The Breeders or P.J. Harvey. Other times they take a turn towards a more folksie, bluesy rock sound. The music is bittersweet, reflective and gritty while bouncing between sparse, slow numbers to full-sounding electric rockers.

Holly Newsom’s honeyed vocals make the songs’ melodies easy to swallow as she shape-shifts her voice to fit the music, cooing softly like The Delgados’ Emma Pollock, employing a sultry and soulful sound similar to Jesse Sykes, and even engaging her inner riot grrrl like the The Kills’ Alison Mosshart or the gals from Sleater-Kinney.

The music and vocals seem to compliment each other well, and the musicians do a fine job of fleshing out an emotional gravity while shifting through various gears with a fierce exuberance, but just as often seem lost, as they slog along with a delicate and subdued temperament.

Zoo Animal have fashioned an alternative folk-rock album that is earnest, different and decent that should please fans of this genre but is not without some low points.

Rest + Noise