May 13th, 2009

Forest Gospel

Review of Good or Plenty, Streets + Avenues
Thistle

| | $ |

I guess 2009 is officially Animal Hospital’s coming out party. I first became smitten (and rightly so) by the release of Memory on the illustrious Barge imprint and apparently this little puppy preceded Memory by a month, so it looks like I am taking in the releases in reverse order. Of course, this matters not at all. A cursory listen to either album would quickly lead a listener to the other release on the basis of sheer goodness. Oh Animal Hospital, will you never stop healing our poor pets and wild Earthly co-inhabitants? Hopefully not. Good or Plenty, Streets + Avenues is a wonderful addition to the Animal Hospital repertoire that was presented on Memory. The album avoids the lengthy, dramatic surgeries displayed on that release and instead focuses on the standard day to day operations of animal hospitalateering: daily check-ups, medicine prescriptions, happy customers. GorP,S+A is a light hearted dip into the joys of healing animals via layers and layers of homespun loops. As a refresher for those who were unable to wade through my lengthy review of Memory (or simply missed it altogether), Animal Hospital is not “Animal Hospitals.” It is a single edifice and as such is the pseudonym designated for a single musician from Boston named Kevin Micka. Micka’s work here is built around his slowly evolving and elaborate looping of guitars, percussion and electronics. Unlike Memory, GorP,S+A steers clear of weighty crescendos and instead offers beautifully intricate character sketches with each track. In a way, this kind of meandering structure is harder to pull off, but Micka proves ownership of a keen ear and adept musicianship by executing each track with the utmost precision and always keeping things interesting. Good or Plenty, Streets + Avenues is one of those rare albums I’ve found that I can always listen to even when nothing else will do. Really solid work.