Shaking Hands with Savages

Indie. Passion. Art. Music.

What to Listen to Wednesday: Exotic Animal Petting Zoo


Exotic Animal Petting Zoo's  music destroys buildings.

Exotic Animal Petting Zoo’s music destroys buildings.

You all are probably expecting me to gush like some rabid fanboy who talks with a slightly effeminate lisp, and gives orders to anybody with the unfortunate displeasure of having ears within a 10 mile radius (ermahgerd eapz rules). Let me clarify and proceed to prove you wrong. To anyone who knows me or has been reading this blog since its inception, there is a slight chance you have heard of these incredibly talented guys. They toe a difficult line, one that has The Number Thirteen Looks like You and The Fear Before the March of Flames on one side, and The Smashing Pumpkins and Tool on the other. There is an incredible amount of restraint these guys show, which again is a testament to their musicianship, because if you have heard their music you can almost sense slightly below the surface there is an almost palpable tension. At any given moment they could explode into a Psyopus styled musical frenzy, devastating everything in their path, like a mathcore version of Dethklok; however, they never do.  The reason is not so obvious until you hear the music, but once you do you realize very few bands have the versatility these guys possesses; their music is like a web of disparate sounds that comes together in a surprisingly coherent manner. You can hear early 90’s Alternative, Math Rock, Jazz, Post Rock, Post Hardcore  etc., and the list just goes on. Yes, they can and do literally go from a whisper to a scream to nothingness within a single song and  it works so well.

Exotic Animal Petting Zoo- I have Made my Bed in Darkness

Exotic Animal Petting Zoo – I have Made My Bed in Darkness

Their first album I Have Made My Bed in Darkness is an eerily woven ethereal masterpiece, and instantly became one of my favorite albums. From “Seeds” to “Arendering”  the whole album is a start to finisher, that can leave the uninitiated feeling a bit drained. A  Word of advice, if you do plan on checking this album out then expect to sit a while, as four of the ten songs easily eclipse the six-minute mark and almost all of the songs are at least three and a half minutes long. I Have Made My Bed in Darkness is a band exploring many different aspects of their sound: loud and quiet, harsh and melodious,  soft and hard. The delicate interplay between all of these ranges of sound allows the guys to truly bottle and control chaos,  as opposed to letting it reign free like lots of bands do. A little under appreciated aspect that I love about this album is how eerie the music is without necessarily going into Nine inch nails territory; everything from the cover art to the beginning of “Every Waking Moment” and the clean vocals throughout the aptly titled LP. Suffice to say with a debut as incredible as this, it  becomes increasingly hard to top or even get close to the level of expectation from the fans.Yet, they did just that.

Exotic Animal Petting Zoo- Tree of Tongues

Exotic Animal Petting Zoo – Tree of Tongues

Maybe  the guys are  big Terminator 2 fans ,because something weird happened in between 2008 and 2012:  the guys managed to get even damn better. That was not a misprint Tree of Tongues is an exceptional album; it may not have the flow that I have made…. had, but manages to have songs that are more memorable, and dare I say better put together. Yes, there is still that weirdness made you like the band initially, but there is a bit more order to the music; furthermore illustrating  that the band is going in a positive direction, sort of like the transition that The Number 12 Looks like You made between Mongrel and Worse Than Alone. They refined their sound and subsequently made an album that is more streamlined, yet sticks to the band’s roots in an aesthetic sense. And their hard work really shows as, Tree of Tongues has garnered nothing but critical acclaim with many music outlets, with some( No#15) hailing it as one of the best releases of 2012  .

This is a clear-cut case of stop reading and go listen. Exotic Animal Petting Zoo has managed to do something that most bands strive to do:  improve upon themselves. They set a high bar for themselves, but I don’t have any doubt that they will continue to grow and progress, creating even more genre blending stuff and redefining  rock music. Ridiculous name, unforgettable music,  ladies and gentlemen I welcome you to the world of Exotic Animal Petting Zoo.

Similar Bands: The Smashing Pumpkins, Botch,  The Mars Volta, The Human Abstract

Favorite tracks:  Seeds , Ira Lore, A).Translations,These People Refuse to Believe That the Lake Is Bottomless , Arcology, Pharmokinetic, Apis Bull, Whore of Babel

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