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So I'm a third of the way through my first listen of Margot and the Nuclear So and So's new record Animal! -- well, the first of their two simultaneous releases, I should say, the other being Not Animals -- and good grief, man, they did it. Transcended my expectations, that is. Completely. If you'll remember I was a little non-plussed upon hearing the new material live this past Spring. Well, let's just say, I'm glad that I reserved judgement, because these songs are just fucking swell, friends. What's more, I'm having the exact opposite reaction that I expected to have (granted this is only on cursory listen, so take it for what it's worth): The more textured numbers are striking a decidedly sweeter chord with me than the sparser ones. I'm listening right now on cheap Altec Lansing computer speakers; seriously can't wait to get off work so I can bump this shit on a decent system. -- Dave Herrera
Monday morning post script/second impressions: Now that I've had more time to spend with these two albums, I'd say both are equally as stellar to my tastes. With five tracks in common ("A Children's Crusade On Acid," "German Motor Car," "Hello Vagina," "Tall As Cliffs" and "Cold, Kind and Lemon Eyes"), though, I've also noticed fewer distinctions between the releases -- or, if anything, they seem slightly less pronounced than they did at first. That said, while songs like "Shivers (I've Got 'Em)" and "The Ocean (Is Bleeding Salt)" are notably more driving, overall, the two albums are distinguised more by pacing and song selection than by a stylistic diversion. Favorites so far from Animal!: "There's Talk of Mine Shafts," "Mariel's Brazen Overture," particularly the strings, and "I am a Lightning Rod." Standouts from Not Animal: "Pages Written on the Wall," "Broadripple Is Burning," "The Ocean Is Bleeding Salt."