Review: “Zoo Animal”

The Christian rock band but not Christian Rock band scores with their self-titled LP.

These rockers, unlike most rockers, hear, see and speak no evil.

Emily Utne

These rockers, unlike most rockers, hear, see and speak no evil.

by Mark Brenden

Zoo Animal Album: âÄúZoo AnimalâÄù Label: Rest + Easy Minneapolis trio Zoo Animal encompasses all of the indie trends that defined the colorful culmination of the decade that was: rough-and-pretty female vocals, lo-fi grittiness and an animal band name. You may ask, “What’s in a name?” But it’s precisely in their epithet where they are separated from the Animal Collectives, the Grizzly Bears and the Wolf Parades of the world âÄî there’s nothing pleasant about being a Zoo Animal. It’s in those tortured moments where the band connects and distances itself from its cutesy contemporaries, such as the ever-sunny Lucy Michelle. In their granular new self-titled LP, they come off as Lucy Michelle, if the songbird were backed by Mudhoney or Tad. The opener, “Out & About” is a terse little ditty in which songwriter Holly Newsom pushes her Feist-y vocals out through a larynx that appears to be lined with adhesives as filthy guitars play peak-a-boo throughout as if to foreshadow the grunginess to follow. âÄúBaybee âÄù is a hard-hitting declaration of the restlessness of man. The songs starts with the lyrics, âÄúBaby, letâÄôs make music / ItâÄôll make us feel betterâÄù and as it progresses, âÄúmusicâÄù gets replaced with âÄúmoneyâÄù and then âÄúbabies.âÄù Much has been made about the bandâÄôs Christian faith and whether or not it makes them âÄúChristian Rock.âÄù Just as female artists do not necessitate under âÄúfeminist art,âÄù Zoo AnimalâÄôs Christian lean does not yield âÄúShout to the LordâÄù covers and in-your-face crusades. Nor does their honesty in their Christianity revoke their rock âÄònâÄô roll attitude. On the contrary, in a musical world of staunch secularism, Zoo AnimalâÄôs Jesus-loving is the probably the most punk rock thing about them âÄî although that is not their goal (double badass). When they do preach the word, like in âÄúMuddy, Bluddy,âÄù it does not remove the listener from the music. NewsomâÄôs mystical intoning of âÄúWhoâÄôs that / Ah yes, itâÄôs Jesus ChristâÄù is more comparable to Neutral Milk HotelâÄôs âÄúI love you Jesus Chri-i-i-st!âÄù in âÄúThe King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 2 âÄù than âÄúJesus loves me.âÄù A word of advice: forget about all of that. The denomination of the subject matter is far less important than the quality of the subject matter. What âÄúZoo AnimalâÄù is is a complete album of purring vocals and never-boring backing sections that transcends Indie religious wars. And besides, not every rock star wants to go to hell. 3 out of 4 stars.