Nostalgia must be 30 years behind for the generation of 20-somethings. At least, that's how it appears to be based on the wave of 80s retro-fetishism that has plagued a decent amount of musicians for both entire projects and one-offs. Of course, the problem at hand is not indicative of some huge wave of pure 80s sound (that notion died around the time that the term 'chillwave' vanished from the popular vernacular), but rather a more troubling example of fake memories or a mere filtration for the sake of filtering. For all the moaning, and before I continue and finally get on topic, I must admit enjoying some 80s retro shit (mostly synth sounds and nothing else, and the song 'In The Air Tonight;) and even calling myself a New Wave fan; ¦now that being said, I enjoy it because of the time period it is contained in, not as some catalyst for a revival or some foul new miasma of 1980s fetishism. Influence is one thing, plain copying and pasting various sonic trademarks is another. And that's where Danimal Kingdom gets to enter the fracas. Per usual, I did a small bit of research on the artist before writing just to see if there are any interesting facts or historical truths that are either worth mentioning or that change my opinion or outlook on the music (should I find a reason to "hate on" the music). So imagine my surprise when I see articles mentioning how similar Danimal Kingdom is to artists like DEVO and Squeeze. Such a comparison seems to be the by-product of either a vast sea of collective consciousness that led to the same mention by two or three articles, or a by-product of one of the more convincing or weasel-worded press releases in recent memory. Hopefully some semblance of musicality can break my otherwise chitin-laden exterior towards this release, but I'll remain pleasantly neutral for the time being.

It's not that Vinyl Skipping Ever Backwards is a bad song, it's just delivered annoyingly. Vocally we're treading the line between early Elvis Costello, mid-era Kevin Barnes, and late period Rivers Cuomo, all without the sense of originality, emotion, or over-the-top intensity that makes these people charismatic (save for Cuomo, who has been steadily sinking into a vat of shit). Not to say that the delivery is devoid of any such indicator of emotion or intensity, no it often seems half-shouted and wrapped up in its own giddiness or sugar high (you choose). Dissenters need only listen to the chorus of 'Amputee Spirit' to see where I'm coming from. Each line is rendered as a whiny yelp as if Mr. Danimal had his tail stepped on as he was singing. It's an arduous listen, as fatiguing as it is morbidly hilarious to hear such mediocre renderings. Musically the zone is pure 80s pop of all strains as indicated by the clean, almost MIDI-like, guitar, chirping synthesizers, reverb'd drums or gated drums programmed within an inch of their nonexistent life, and every possible bassline you can conjure up from the period blended and reconstituted in perfect early KORG sauce. You know what? I was chill with Neon Indian and Washed Out, I was a fan and still do like Toro Y Moi, I fucking love Clive Tanaka, and to top it all I have a deep love and respect for bands like the above mentioned DEVO, Oingo Boingo, and many a New Waver out there. That firmly stated, do me a favor, independent musicians, and STOP TRYING TO BE THAT ERA. When you're doing it as a joke or a technical limitation of, say, your keyboard (cf. Rob Walmart) it's either cool, hilarious, or charming. Instead the barrage of retro-for-retro's-sake, ars algia gratia ars nostos, comes off as forced and purely for the sake of an inability to try to sound modern. Polemics are never a way to really get things done, this isn't an era of pseudo-philosophy nor is it the continental 1800s, but I must exhort the community. As a musician, as a writer, as an avid listener and sponge of all new and old, please stop. Something is wrong when I prefer the staid cleanliness of shitshows like rhythmic top 40 to the manicured mid-fi of forced age.

I must once again invoke the leniency offered by brevity, as I am almost at a loss for words here. Something is just a touch too monochrome for me to really force myself to intellectually go at length or to any real depth with Danimal Kingdom. Maybe it's a form of godsend (from Loki), as I went in depth with my listening and was still at a total lack of analysis that I could do either lyrically or musically. I;m sure pop song critics like Toddintheshadows would slap me for saying that. Oh well, we can't always win, and it's better to cut the losses than accrue them.

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