There’s an old mattress in the corner, a family of rats in the walls. Water leaks from the roof when it rains. Forget about heat and air conditioning.
It’s hardly the ideal practice room for serious recording artists. But for These Animals — a New York City indie rock band with ties to Fairfield County — the dark, dilapidated surroundings have provided just the right space for shaking out the raw emotion that permeates their songs.
“This record is definitely a product of our environment,” Greenwich resident Jon Rick (guitar/synths/percussion) said of the band’s new album, “Pages.” “Just writing in the winter with our hands shivering, or in the summer with the heat bearing down on us, in this grimy space, it brings a lot out of us.”
The band, which celebrates the release of “Pages” with a performance at The Bowery Electric in New York City on Thursday, Aug. 1, couples dreamy, symphonic indie pop with the angelic, yet plaintive vocals of singer/guitarist Gregory Baldwin (the group is rounded out by bassist Crimmins, of New York City, and drummer Whatley, who grew up in Trumbull).
From songs about loneliness (“I Wrote the Book”) to a disintegrating romance (“Pages”) to the futility of idealism (“Radical Act”), “Pages” is a reflection on inner struggle and at times, redemption.
“The mood is pretty lonesome, yet hopeful,” said Baldwin, of Greenwich. “Some lyrics may be gloomy, but I like to think that musically it has lots of different levels of intensity.”
Forming at SUNY Purchase in 2010, These Animals previously released two EP’s — “Extended Play” and “Souvenir Sessions” — before launching a Kickstarter campaign in support of the proper full-length debut.
In addition to their practice space, These Animals worked on the album in a small cabin in Lake Chautauqua, N.Y. in the winter of 2012.
“We wanted to isolate ourselves from the business of life and focus on songwriting,” Rick said.
It’s good to get away, but there’s also something to be said for isolating one self from comforts and conveniences. These Animals have shown that on “Pages.” With their hands shivering and their lungs filled with dust, the band produced a record that is nakedly, at times terrifyingly honest.
Listen to the band’s new single, “Hunting Horn,” below: