February 15th, 2009

Love and Mathematics

Review of Animal Hospital – Good or Plenty, Streets + Avenues

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(This review is by Love and Mathematics, a radio show featuring the very best new rock in rotation at radio station WZBC, as well as college radio gold from the ’80s and ’90s and, when he’s feeling nostalgic, local music from our childhood. The show airs Wednesdays, 1-3pm, on WZBC Newton Massachusetts, 90.3fm, or can be found at www.wzbc.org/listen.html.)


My favorite Brian Eno album always has been and always will be “Another Green World.” Anticipating Eno’s ambient work that soon followed in its use of meditative repetition and quiet electronics, that 1975 lp has always been more interesting to me because of its added complexity: the way, for instance, that guitars, bass, drums, and the occasional vocal allow the music to retain contact with the standard rock format even as the compositions moved far beyond. So you might call “Another Green World” an “ambient” album, but it’s much more than that; and you might call it “experimental rock,” but it’s much more than that, too.


And so it was Eno’s “Another Green World” that came to mind when I listened to Animal Hospital’s (aka Kevin Micka’s) new cd, “Good or Plenty, Streets + Avenues.” On each of this superb album’s nine tracks, guitar, bass, drums, and the occasional vocal get electronically treated and layered on. The sensation produced is like when a camera, initially zoomed in so far that its image is abstact and blurred, gradually backs out so that an entire, complex, moving landscape comes into focus. So, yeah: you could call it “ambient,” but it’s much more than that, and you could call it “experimental rock,” but it’s much more than that too. And so it strikes me as no small coincidence that the album cover, shown above, depicts what looks like yet “another green world.”

You can download one of the loveliest tracks, “March and June,” from the Mutable Sound website. But this is an album that you really have to hear all of. Put in on, right after “Another Green World” and right before side two of David Bowie’s “Heroes.” It’ll fit right in.

[See the original review here.]