Album Review: The Sound Of Animals Fighting - 'The Ocean And The Sun'

6 February 2009 | 8:54 am | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Music to make you lose your mind.

For a band that is for all intensive purposes, a side-project, The Sound Of Animals Fighting have released more music in the last three years (and a DVD of one of their rare live shows) than most bands do throughout their entire career. After their maiden recording - Tiger And The Duke - put them on the map in 2004, the group followed up with Lover, The Lord Has Left Us…, an album that took the collective’s musical complexity to a whole new level, something that has been expanded upon and refined (yet again) for their third masterpiece, The Ocean And the Sun. 

After the Farsi translation of the English poem, “In The Desert”, has kicked things off, we’re given the record’s title track, a haunting number that has more in common with early trip hop devotees The Sneaker Pimps than any of the members day jobs, which includes (but is not limited to) acts such as Circa Survive, RX Bandits and Chiodos. “I, The Swan” continues in a similar fashion by placing its emphasis on ambience rather than the unnecessarily drawn out passages that so many other progressive bands rely on to get their point across, while “Another Leather Lung” throws the rulebook out the window with its combination of sedate vocals and thrashing instrumentals.  

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Songs like “Cellophane” are an obvious of demonstration of the skillful musicianship that’s on offer, as the group’s ability to (again) switch between soothing melodies and frantic (and slightly quirky) guitar parts is staggering, a trend which is continued throughout “The Heraldic Beak Of The Manufacturer’s Medallion” and “Uzbekistan”. 

The last few tracks do a fantastic job of meshing Mars Volta styled jams/freak outs with gentle interludes, all of which culminates with “On The Occasion Of Wet Snow”, an epic beast that manages to many of TSOAF key musical ingredients into the one jaw-dropping jam.

Free from cookie-cutter song structures and musical clichés, The Ocean And The Sun is the kind of record that many musicians can only dream of creating. If you’re into anything that’s slightly left of centre then I have no doubt that you’ll enjoy this as much as I did. 

  1. Intro
  2. The Ocean And The Sun
  3. I, The Swan
  4. Another Leather Lung
  5. Lude
  6. Cellophane
  7. The Heraldic Beak Of The Manufacturer’s Medallion
  8. Chinese New Year
  9. Uzbekistan
  10. Blessings Be Your Mister V
  11. Ahab
  12. On The Occasion Of Wet Snow