Bob Dylan has an awful lot to answer for; without him literally thousands of terrible folk influenced bands would not be thrusting their faux liberal views down our throats. Sure, he wasnt the first to mix music and politics, but he was undeniably one of the single most influential in the rise of guitars and socio- political commentary. Thankfully not everything that he has helped to spawn has ended up being a waste of studio time and money and we can add Call it Arson to that list.
Mixing hardcore and folk is not something I would ever think could work so well, but somehow Call it Arson have taken the best parts of both genres and thrown them together on The Animal Strings Album to make an album that touches on both personal and political issues without ever seeming hackneyed or clichéd. Jumping between balls to the floor, loud full on rock sounding songs and quieter stripped down acoustic numbers in an effortless manner over the span of the six songs on The Animal Strings Album, Call it Arson prove to be masters of both sounds.
Eliza kicks the album off with a single strummed guitar and a heart wrenching harmony on the vocals before the album kicks into one of two definite highlights, The Unmanageable Superstate, which features heavy crunching guitar and angry lyrics such as Fuck the pills that you push to cure the resulting diseases as the band take a swipe at the current state of America and renounce all that my leaders have done all with a harmonica line cutting through the song. It is a magnetic song and hasnt been off my iPod since the first listen.
The band then slow back down with Animal Strings before going for middle ground with On the Run, which combines the lush personal feel of the acoustic guitar with the large sound of the full band to create a breathtakingly great song. The other standout track Places follows, a self conscious soul baring song which lays everything on the line in the lyrics, If just my presence is an issue/ Then Id rather just steer clear
The album finishes on a high with Hoopin & Humpin, another acoustic lead track that brings the album to a great close, though in truth its probably the weakest song on the album, not to say that that is a bad thing given the quality that has come before.
The one problem with The Album Strings Album is that at only six songs long it is too damn short. By the end I found myself wanting more, but maybe thats point. Why give you everything when they can make you work for it?
7.5 / 10
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