Review – Public Animal

Album: Palace Arms
Release Date: October 28, 2016
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Genre: Rock

Toronto’s very own Public Animal have released their sophomore, full length album, Palace Arms, which avoids the infamous sophomoric slump with the bands creative song writing, and polished outcome.  To celebrate the release of Palace Arms¸ Public Animal will host a release party at The Horseshoe Tavern with support from Diemonds, PowWows, and DJ Tim Perlich.

Kicking off with an thematic, and slightly operatic in nature, instrumental introduction, the album truly catapults forward with the second tack, “It Don’t Seem Right”.  Instrumentally, I get a very strong Alice Cooper vibe from the old school organ behind the crunching and rhythmic guitar riff, which compliments the duet styled vocals from Caitlyn Dacey and Ian Blurton, who share lead vocals together.  The vocal style is what makes Public Animal stand out most.  Not only does this provide a contrasting timbre, but the harmonies and intertwining melodic lines make for a truly interesting listen.  While heard throughout the entirety of Palace Arms, this is especially effective on “Procession” and “Fade With Forever”.

Instrumentally too, Public Animal proves to be a talented group of musicians who, as a band, are beyond tight.  While quite literally any song from the record can be used as an example of this, three of which stand out among the eleven song track listing.  The first of which, the sludgy and grungy “10 Seasons” not only features my favorite riff on the record, but it also captures the band at a slower and an almost dragging tempo, a rare, but welcomed, occurrence on the album. The riff driven “Fingerprint Stains” delivers a killer chorus which seamlessly shifts the mood of the song from the substantially heavier verse.  Lastly, “Fade With Forever” is an excellent example of Public Animal using exotic sounds and funky rhythms to create adventures and at times experimental melodic lines.

As a whole, Palace Arms is nothing short of excellent.  This is a rock record which is very much conscious of the past- pulling influences from icons of the likes of Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, and Soundgarden- while still remaining current.  There is a certain pop element in the production, giving the band a highly polished and glam gloss which delivers a sense of modern flair.  Without a doubt, the highlight is the constantly sparring vocals between Dacey and Blurton, which further add to the modern pop vibes which collide with the very classic rock orientated instrumental sections.  This collision is not bad in anyway, in fact it pushes Public Animal into the unique position of being an example of such fusions and how they can create something exceptional.

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