We the Animals is a band that’s difficult to nail down (trust me, I’ve tried) to a specific genre. With elements of indie, alternative, slow jams, atmospheric post-rock and a litany of other musical veins, their hallmark “100% all-natural dirty disco” style defies a standard definition. However, that’s one of the things that I believe makes We the Animals so enjoyable to listen to. Their ability to draw in a mishmashed potpourri of different musical elements and formulate them into a cohesive structure is something for us to appreciate. On their new album Hells and Chronicles, this characteristic really comes to the forefront.

Hells and Chronicles is the culmination of a two year interlude since their release of the Danger Demo EP and shows a lot of musical growth in that time. According to the band, “Over the last two years, I think our work has become a little more cohesive, as we have been working to figure out what we want this project to be and what our strengths are. Our music has definitely gotten heavier and more aggressive, but the dynamic nature of our music always seems to prevail, which is a true representation of the four writing perspectives in play.”

This album takes a dark tone by incorporating a lot of musical downtime, utilizing atmospheric elements and interludes between moments that cut loose to really build upon the foundation of their songs. This style comes out in particular on the album's title track, “Hells and Chronicles,” which is more subdued during the early verses, and builds exponentially during the chorus.

In a similar fashion, the fourth track, aptly named "Structures," is almost a two-part version of this building element, moving from light to heavy. “Structures” incorporates an airier tone to begin with, and then builds slowly with light hand percussion and ethereal guitar arpeggios, pausing with echoed vocals before rolling forth like a thundercloud for the second half of the song.


We the Animals as Katy Perry at The Great Cover Up. Photo by Tom Chandler

Overall, Hells and Chronicles is an album with a lot of cohesive complexity between different elements, and it uses that to captivate the listener. We the Animals’ musical prowess really comes through on this album.

Fun fact, “Amtrak Steve,” an instrumental post-rock-ish tune later in the album, was, according to the band, “Written as we recorded it, and basically done in one take (minus a couple over dubs).” Another fun-fact, the tune doesn’t lose any of its allure, even considering the time constraints it was written within.

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Hells and Chronicles will be available digitally as well as on CD and vinyl via Mud Records (Parasol Label Group) beginning October 29th. It is currently available for pre-order via their Bandcamp page, and with the pre-order you get an instant download of the single/title track. In addition to online and at local stores, you’ll be able to pick up Hells and Chronicles at We the Animals’ album release show on October 29th at Cowboy Monkey, with Euriah and Radiation Babies.