Articles 94 | 96
| Reviews 94 | 96
Review for Too Sussed, Vox, August 1994:
These Animal Men - Too Sussed (Hi Rise)
It's hard to envy These Animal Men, widely acclaimed as they are
as the leading lights of the movement that never existed. The fast
fading New Wave revival was fabricated by a few journalists and
bands, mostly white males in their 20's who just missed punk first
time round and were attempting to create a theme park recreation
However, what these cultural Back to Basics campaigners ignored
is that punk is a mental attitude which adapts to historical circumstances,
not a single look or certain sound or specific haircut that remains
fixed forever. It is about sweeping away the cultural junk of the
past, not recycling it, so '90s punk could mean Techno, Rap or even
Grunge - but certainly not tinny, white-boy guitar pop.
None of which would matter if this Brighton foursome had an ounce
of the style or skill of the lineage they claim: The Who, The Manics
et al. Their debut mini-album contains one adequate three-chord
slammer 'Speeed King' and a touching teenage ballad 'You're Not
My Babylon', but the remainder are just feeble and forgettable.
These Animal Men can be a blast live and infectiously enthusiastic
in interviews, but their music is the bottom line. Rock bottom.
Review for "Too Sussed", Popscene
Fanzine, Spring 94
It's been a busy year so far for These Animal Men, who have managed
in a very short space of time both to get a couple of MPs frothing
at the mouth about their 'inappropriate' lyrics, and get everyone
else excited with their loud, edgy and to-the-point music. "Too
Sussed?" rounds up their recent singles for anyone who missed
them the first time around, and when all the tracks are lined up
together, they make for a powerful and intense blast of melody and
noise. 'Speeed King' is still several leagues above anything else
on here, but when it comes accompanied by songs as good as 'You're
Not My Babylon' and 'Jobs For The Boys', that's an irrelevancy.
After years of being told that 'punk' now means miserable long-haired
Americans in lumberjack shirts whining self-hating lyrics, it's
great to be reminded of what it should be - a concise, noisy, three-minute
burst of guitar pop with lyrics about banned BBC plays and hating
fools who live for their office jobs. They may look like a bunch
of escapees from the early years of "Grange Hill" (or
even some "Krypton Factor" contestants who got badly lost
during the assault course round), but These Animal Men aren't just
retreading punk's past glories. They are as informed by the rebirth
of British guitar pop as they are by the spirit of The Sex Pistols
and Buzzcocks, and right now there's probably nothing that we need
Review for (Come on Join)...,
Vox, November 1994:
These Animal Men - (Come on Join) The High Society
Exactly what is new about the New Wave of New Wave? Judging by
(Come on Join) The High Society, it certainly isn't the music.
These Animal Men's debut, full-length album which does not include
their first two singles, (featured recently on a mini-LP) does,
however get off to a promising start. Steeped in teen spirit, 'Sharp
Kid' is a frantically fun, infectious opener, with a Buzzcocks type
charm also evident on 'Empire Building'. Soon though, the stripe-sporting,
speed-snorting Men start to sound increasingly one-dimensional.
Although the spunk quotient consistently remains impressively high,
there is too little melody to distinguish between songs. But 'You're
Always Right' and 'Flawed is Beautiful' do recall the promise of
early Manic Street Preachers.
Here's hoping TAM progress beyond one good idea before they set
their sights on a second album. 6/10
Bite size reviews for (Come on Join,)...:
New Musical Express (12/24/94, p.23) - Ranked #41 in NME's list
of the `Top 50 Albums Of 1994.'
Q Magazine (11/94, p.124) - 3 Stars - Good
...fired up by buzzsaw guitars, snotty vocals and manic street-preachiness...a
reminder of the archetypal grandiose anthem Mott The Hoople or The
Boomtown Rats built reputations on...
New Musical Express (9/24/94, p.51) - 8 - Excellent
...you can almost see These Animal Men becoming the punked-up
Queen of their generation. It takes chutzpah to make a debut album
Alternative Press (3/95, pp.67-68)
...This is power/smash pop in the mod/punk tradition, but it
takes more structural twists and turns than the average 21-year-old,
speed-shredded mind can usually devise. Beyond Green Day, TAM just
might possess the most fertile pop imaginations of their generation...
Q Review, These Animal Men - Come on Join...
In the face of American grunge's slacker mentality, Britpop's retaliation
has a last-gang-in-town, mod-pop front, served with plenty of arrogant
cheek. So it goes with Brighton quartet These Animal Men, in their
matching Adidas gear, tufty hairdos, love of controversy (the drug
paean Speed King for one) and anthemic appeal. The opening Sharp
Kid sums it up but This Year's Model, Flawed Is Beautiful and We
Are Living flesh out the brief, fired up by buzzsaw guitars, snotty
vocals and manic street-preachiness. Ultimately, the band lack the
class pop structures of a Buzzcocks, Clash or Jam but fare better
with the mellower Empire Building and the title track, a reminder
of the archetypal grandiose anthem Mott The Hoople or The Boomtown
reputations on, replete with Cockney inflections, pumped piano,
swelling chorus and sighing harmonies. Not a debut of the year,
then, but a whiff of the Zeitgeist nevertheless.
Review for Come on Join... Popscene Fanzine,
It's fair to say that These Animal Men's debut album is going to
hold no great surprises, but what's so wrong about that? Their singles
have been among the most exciting and dynamic of a year that so
far been bursting at the seams with exciting and dynamic singles,
and an entire album full of this stuff is something very welcome
indeed. Recent near-hit 'This Is The Sound Of Youth' vies for the
honour of best track with the title track, 'You're Always Right'
and the powerhouse opener 'Sharp Kid', but there are great moments
throughout this album. Some sections of the music press have lately
been given to sneering that These Animal Men are just following
in the footsteps of The Manic Street Preachers, even to the extent
of having their own Richey in the form of Hooligan. It's easy to
understand why people are saying this, but it's also interesting
to note that the Manics' debut "Generation Terrorists"
was confused and overlong in places, whereas "(Come On Join)
The High Society" is far more coherent and knows exactly where
it's going from the first guitar chord. The Manics have recently
delivered a blistering, malevolent masterpiece in "The Holy
Bible", and on the evidence of this debut offering, it's certainly
going to be an exciting moment when These Animal Men deliver their
own equivalent in a couple of years time.
for Taxi for..., Vox, April 1995:
These Animal Men - Taxi For These Animal Men (Hi
These Animal Men prove that they're aiming for the great rock pantheon
with this five track mini-LP taster. 'My Human Remains' is a very
large ballad, burning brightly with a bitter beauty, all Bowie circa
Hunky Dory, Mott the Hoople and self styled '90s sharp kids
rolled into one. As ever they go for flawed, mannered, almost formal
phrases, rolling words around for the glorious sake of it and serving
them up with imploding guitar and a splash of drums.
Brief and brilliant, Taxi For These Animal Men includes the
anthemic 'You're Always Right' from their (Come on Join) The
High Society, plus four new tracks that grimace, pout and preen
themselves in all the right places. From the brutal chords of 'False
Identification' to the ballad 'Nowhere Faces' (with a drumbeat that
sounds suspiciously like Phil Collins' 'In The Air Tonight'), These
Animal Men are showing versatility. We await, with baited breath,
the final thing. 5/10
Articles 94 | 96
| Reviews 94 | 96