God Save The Animals
When an artist writes about God, there’s always a bit of of stigma attached to the outing. The concept of religion in a contemporary artistic endeavour is something that can be wrought with misinterpretation. On his new album, God Save The Animals, Philadelphia based singer, songwriter and producer Alex Giannascoli aka Alex G brings this concept into every single one of the albums thirteen tracks. In this case it’s the idea of faith in anything that keeps the songs protagonists going in the face of whatever situation they find themselves in.
As always, Giannascoli’s songs here range from dramatic to playful and the way he organically lets these songs unfold only adds to their impact. Giannascoli wrote and demo’d the albums tracks at home, like he always has on his last nine albums but to break up his pandemic routine of being at home, he reached out to a handful of different engineers at studios in Philadelphia. The idea was to present these songs at their sonic best, and he definitely achieved that. The record sounds amazing. Every sound and texture seemingly sits in the space it was meant to and it enhances the tracks non linear arrangements and makes the most of what he is trying to achieve here. There’s a lot here to dig into to. The songs jump from spazzy pitched up and down vocals to meditative grooves that ease you into their message. It’s quite a lovely affair and another great addition to I like people who I can open up to/Who don’t judge me for what I say/But judge for what I do/And when I think of people I look up to repertoire.
The record kicks off with “After All” and it’s a great way to set the tone for the entire album. Alex’s pitched up vocals and textured guitar looping highlight the message within of how people tend to slip in and out of your life, the inevitability of change and his passive reaction to it. It’s quite lovely and leaves you with a tempered yet biting reaction to the quandary of life that’s the songs thesis. All across the album the songs are produced wonderfully. “Runner” starts sharply with a little Springsteen esque guitar riff before becoming entirely its own thing. The song kicks off with Alex singing, “I like people who I can open up to/Who don’t judge me for what I say, but judge me for what I do/And when I think of people I look up to”. He then goes to describe this person, who may be a manifestation of God or himself, but it’s not ever heavy handed, it’s always thoughtful and the idea, never overwrought. “Mission” is another great track that goes a long way to highlight the work that is happening here. It seems like the track is directly referencing the song “Runner”, when Alex sings off the top, “I’ve run the whole world round”. The biblical references are abound on the album and this track, seemingly told through the perspective of a missionary, seems more comfortable in openly displaying that. In the songs refrains, Giannascoli sings, “I was trained to stick to the mission/I was trained to stay on track” and while he says it resolutely, there is a something in his voice that makes you think the songs protagonist is trying to trick themselves into thinking they are happy with the choices they’ve made.
God Save The Animals is full of these moments. You hear what Giannascoli is saying but there is something in his delivery or it’s musical accompaniment that makes you question if the meaning is accurate. It’s not often we get treated to an album that is so interesting in its voice and textures, that allows you to explore its messages and meanings all the while just plain enjoying it. At nine albums in, it sounds like Giannascoli is just getting started.
order God Save The Animals by Alex G Here
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