Wolf Eyes, Human Animal

Wolf Eyes, Human Animal

Firstly: Wolf Eyes should be commended for their brevity. In the world of noise music, where the 80-minute capacity of the CD is often mistaken for the ideal run time, it’s great to have an album that clocks in at a sprightly 33 minutes and change. (This, by the way, marks the only time that the adjective “sprightly” will ever be used to describe this album.)

Secondly: I used to love noise albums, which automatically puts me into an uncomfortable minority. Then I discovered that with a few pedals I could easily create on my own sound that, to my ears, sounded pretty indistinguishable from a lot of the records I bought. (Try it yourself sometime if you’re bored. It’s almost as easy as writing emo lyrics.) So I gradually drifted away from the genre.

If you’re like me, then, it’s a meaningful commendation as well that Wolf Eyes, at least on this album (color me ignorant on their earlier work) make a sound that you can’t easily make by yourself, even if you have understanding neighbors. What is even more meaningful, though, is that this isn’t just an undifferentiated wall of noise but is actually quite compositionally varied, and even more surprising emotionally affecting. I say this because getting the shit scared out of you is as valid an emotional experience as being sad about losing a girlfriend, and this is one fucking scary album, from the sparse mechanical hell of the opening track “A Million Years” and the high-frequency squalls of “Rusted Mange” all the way to the shortwave radio-damaged screaming of “Noise Not Music.” All throughout, there’s enough shifts in the texture and formula that you never get comfortable with one form of sonic assault, but find yourself bandied about from one unexpected discomfort to another. This is true uneasy listening, and hey: Halloween’s just around the corner. Buy a copy, blast it out the windows, and it’ll scare kids way more than that stupid haunted house sounds tape ever did.

(Sub Pop Records -- 2013 Fourth Avenue, Seattle, WA. 98121; http://www.subpop.com/; Wolf Eyes -- http://www.wolfeyes.net/)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Saturday, October 28th, 2006. Filed under Reviews.

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