Animo - Blood in the Water
Record Label: Sans Radicles Records
Release Date: June 24, 2008
One Hope One Mind was the (somewhat ironic) title of the Arvada, Colorado four-piece pop-punk band Animo's first record, released just over one year ago, six months after the band's 2007 formation. Less than one year later (I know, lots of dates here - take a breath), Animo has followed up their debut record with Blood In The Water, an unfocused attempt at putting the intensity pop-punk has rapidly been losing with every passing year, but coming up short.
The band itself is accomplished and displays an adept amount of rhythm and skill, enough to make this album at least sound like something worth listening to. Lead guitarist and producer Brian Johannsen gives Animo a quality sound to work with (although it can sometimes come across a bit muddled), immediately storming out of the gate with "The Addiction," in which vocalist Schuyler Ankele's bratty, raspy vocals overshadow the fine instrumentation that backs him up. The band obviously has good intentions, looking to be somewhere between Bad Religion and Papa Roach, blending hard-hitting rock with punk attitude ... however, this mesh comes across as a sloppy and dull affair in just over half an hour.
The snotty pop-punk of "Left Out (Between the Sheets)," "Seduction" and "Sans Radicles" doesn't match the aggressive opener and the clunky middle section ("The Life" is anthemic, but loses point due to the sore-throat pipes Akele brings) and are the picks of the litter. The band seems to be unsure of what they are aiming for, and if they embrace the Lucky Boys Confusion-meets-Vanilla Sky sound of the aforementioned three highlights, they have a chance to take themselves places.
Blame it on the band's obvious and overanxious enthusiasm, which just might be their biggest handicap. As experienced as the members are, the project sounds entirely too rushed (again... two albums in less than two years of being a band). Animo is proud of being a DIY band, as they should be, constantly on the road. However, the never-ending tour thirst is also their biggest pitfall: the band needs to take a step back and take more time with these songs. It's encouraging to know there are still bands rearing to get up and get out on the road, presenting new material to their fans instead of taking years at a time to get new stuff out there, it just needs to sound complete. Unless the material is strong enough as a cohesive whole, it merely comes across as a headache.
On the contrary, I saw these guys live at warped tour 08 (way to ruin a great tour). I thought they were awesome and I came into the concert hating all the emo bull looking for some of the classic punk and ska roots of the warped tour (I only went for Reel Big Fish, at first). These Guys ROCKED Live I even went to give them props and pick up the album. Yes the album blows, but maby thats why there always on the road. The songs don't sound like they do on the album and for only good reasons I must assume. In any case this band is definitly worth checking out especialy if you see them live. Keep Rocking Guys.