Animals as Leaders: The Joy of Motion

Animals as Leaders: The Joy of Motion

(Sumerian, 3/25/14)


Animals as Leaders will almost always be known for two things: eight-stringed monstrosities that add sheer weight to the air around them, and the fleet-fingered maniacs who dare to use them.

The band’s third full-length, The Joy of Motion, is another addition to the cerebral workouts of the previous albums, with new drummer Matt Garska blurring the lines between irregular time signatures and schizophrenia while Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes whip up a technical frenzy. The solos are long, lurid, and expressive, and the low-tuned seventh and eighth strings on tracks like “Tooth and Claw” and “Lippincott” are sure to ignite a flame in the loins of “djent” kids everywhere.

A Latin flair now informs several tracks, and a stronger focus is put on electronic flourishes (ranging from skittering staccato to ambient vista), but a sharp attention to songwriting sets the album apart. The dark tones crush, the bright tones are white hot, and the transitions soar and carve at breakneck pace, making The Joy of Motion a cathartic and engaging listen.