Strings rise out of a glaring silence and intertwine with one another, leaving a trail of reverberated melodies in their path. The notes they dispense seem to hover above us in the ethers for a moment before disappearing to whatever divine place it is that they came from, as fleeting as a setting sun, as radiant as early morning dew adorning green leaves. The glow of the reverb suddenly starts to fade, and crisp, whispering vocals enter the picture, warming the atmospheric feel of the track and coloring the shapeless substance of the music in bright, vibrant shades that reflect optimism and vitality. This is “Don’t Even Know,” the new single from Animals in the Attic, and it doesn’t take very long for it to penetrate your speakers and grab hold of your heart and soul for a minimum three minutes of opulent sonic glory.
The vocals bounce off of the guitar parts without ever interrupting the flow of the music, but that isn’t the most captivating point of interest that we encounter on our way to the climactic chorus. A contemptuous relationship between the drums and the underlying bass tones takes center stage beneath the delicately uttered lyrics, which on their own seem more than content to float around with the strings and contribute to the dreamy soundscape making up the foundation of the song. Meanwhile, the percussion is itching to come to life but can’t, as it’s suffocated by the low-end tonality that’s almost solely responsible for magnifying the track’s primary hook.
Once we’re knees-deep in the chorus, it becomes pretty clear that the fever pitch in “Don’t Even Know” doesn’t come through some sort of conventional means, i.e. an emphasized spike in the melody, a memorable rhyme or even a breakdown in the drumming. It comes exclusively through the tension that is smothering us in sublime pressure from the moment we start the song to the second that the music ceases to play, and all we’re left with is the cratering impression made by the forceful audiological might that this single dishes out in spades. The EQ and blunt physicality of “Don’t Even Know” are more than enough to keep hardcore audio enthusiasts like myself coming back for more time and time again.
In a kaleidoscopic tizzy that recalls the first few bars of the original “Sweet Jane,” Animals in the Attic conclude their latest release with as much drive and decadence as they start it with, having pushed the limits of its dexterous construction as far as they could be pushed. For those of us who fell in love with this band some three years ago with Half-Asleep Surf, “Don’t Even Know” is yet another bold contribution to the ever-expanding catalogue of one of the most exciting young bands to emerge out of the artistic mess of woes and winners that the 2010’s have had to offer, and for newcomers it introduces an acerbic sound that is making enormous waves in the American underground to a mass audience that deserves to hear it. It only takes a single listen to see why they’re on the radar of critics around the country at the moment, and if you love original new music as much as I do, I’d recommend giving this song a spin as soon as possible.