It’s been a little over a year since the blast of atomic rage that is Meshuggah’s Koloss, and things haven’t slowed down for the band. In addition to touring at home and overseas, the band has dropped a video for “I Am Colossus,” and it’s a reality-twisting piece of stop-motion animation that simultaneously evokes Tim Burton and Tool‘s entire music-video catalog.
Mr. Gnome, the Cleveland-based rock two-piece consisting of vocalist/guitarist Nicole Barille and percussionist Sam Meister, has a lot of ideas. Its 2011 album, Madness in Miniature, tells an epic story that the band wanted to translate into some other form of media, be it graphic novel or film. They eventually scaled their ambitions back to a music video, which we previewed for you earlier this year.
Equal parts Edward Gorey and Where the Wild Things Are — surreal and yet completely honest — the newest work by Belgian graphic novelist Brecht Evens makes one hell of an impression without saying anything at all.
Night Animals, described on its title page as “a diptych about what rushes through the bushes,” charms with two very different wordless stories. In the first, a man waits to meet a blind date and is compelled to search for her through the sewers and underground, encountering a vast array of monsters that live there on his way. The second follows a young girl as she undergoes puberty (all in one day) and is later kidnapped by similar monsters for a wild party in the woods that soon turns sinister.
The first story, “Blind Date,” playfully recasts the uncertainty of waiting for an unknown woman into an epic quest involving sewer diving, spelunking, and fending off various beasts. Ultimately light and funny, it contrasts sharply with the second story’s comparative darkness. In “Bad Friends,” a young girl gets her first period during the school day, and while feeling ashamed later at home, is carried off by monsters. A bacchanal ensues in the forest, celebrating her new-found womanhood, but the monsters’ dark intentions leave the reader with a final sense of dread.
It seems fitting to use the word “phantasmagoric” for Evens’ sprawling, intricate visuals, considering his debt to the many artists that the label has also been applied to, and his obvious debt to most of them. His pen drawings obviously recall Gorey, as mentioned, or Tim Burton’s doodles, and even some more creative children’s books (although a celebration of a young woman’s first period would likely not be found in most of those).