Animals As Leaders ‘Arithmophobia’ Song Review

Yeah this song didn’t do it for me and that makes me sad, very sad. Coming off of ‘The Brain Dance’ I had the highest hopes going into the next single. I thought ‘The Brain Dance’ was vibrant, different and incredibly exciting; it showed a maturity to their sound and one that showed them as capable song writers rather than master instrumentalists. But this time round, everything seemed to take a step back. That maturity I thought was growing had been replaced with just a ton of technical w****** (not the fun stuff either). I get that the time signatures are crazy, I get that these guys have an unreal concept of rhythm, I get that, but what about song’s, what about a tune you can actually listen to. This track is full of messy instrumentation, over-ambitious technique, poor production and sloppy textures, yet it lacks basic direction and substance. The song just didn’t go anywhere, it tried to, but it again fell flat.

Starting with the production, gosh did it feel rushed. Animals As Leaders are known for having some of the best produced music in the biz right now, so what happened! The guitars sound thin and lifeless, the drums sound weak and the textures when moulded together sound like garbage! Just a huge mess of conflicting timbres and layers that didn’t mix together at all. Don’t even get me started with that awful sitar that was included…

The structure lacked any cohesion. Now I know this is prog, ‘heck prog is my favourite genre of music, but this track just didn’t have crux to hold onto. It moved and developed, but it didn’t define anything so nothing felt significant. I loved the progressions that started around the 3 minute mark but they were cut way too short. As soon as I was beginning to take to a part, it was over.

I’ve never had a problem with instrumentation in an Animals As Leaders track, never, but the inclusion of the sitar here was a stupid. It’s buzzing timbre stuck out like a sore thumb and just straight up sounded bad. As usual I did enjoy the synth’s used in this track; I feel they are are often under-utilised by this group. I know  both guitarists use 8 or 9 strings, but the lack of bass on this track was incredibly noticeable; the low frequencies were dire.

None of the melodic lines were particularly catchy, none of the solo’s seemed to add anything to the track and the dynamic changes just pushed the track further and further into obscurity; it felt like a bog-standard djent track made by an independent group in their garage.

Now you’re probably all expecting a real low rating for this track, but the sad fact is, that the quality of music has been so low this month, that it actually comes across as one of the better tracks. I’d take this tacky version of ‘CAFO’ over any pop track that has come out this week, any day of the year. At least it tried, and I can’t fault that.

5/10 – Mechanical and clunky; an overall mess spattered with technical excellence.

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