Californian studio co-owner Rafter Roberts has engineered sessions for artists like The Rapture, Rocket From The Crypt, Fiery Furnaces and Sufjan Stevens. ‘Animal Feelings’ turns the tables and puts Rafter in front of the microphone. The result makes you whoop and holler with joy and occasionally gasp in amazement.
OK, so Roberts lives in California. Sun drenched San Diego to be precise. That might go a long way to explain the laid back groove and sunny feel to his music. ‘Animal Feelings’ is full of funky drums, edgy guitars and quirky bits of percussion and keys. In fact, if the Talking Heads would have grown up in San Diego instead of New York they probably would have recorded something like ‘Animal Feelings’ in between skating neighbours’ pools.
Just check drummer Andy Robillard (Gogogo Airheart, Enon, Album Leaf) swirl his magic swizzle sticks on ‘A Frame’. Or delve into the cool Dance Rock of ‘Paper’ (not a cover of the Talking Heads song with the same name, by the way) and ‘Animal Feelings’. Then there is the subdued funkyness of ‘Beauty Beauty’ and ‘Fruit’, a song about Rafters courting his wife, photographer Lizeth Santos (who also shot the portrait which graces this post).
It’s hard to believe, but ‘Animal Feelings’ is Roberts’ fifth solo album to date. Rafter has tried a range of different musical styles in the past, on his own and as one half of legendary Punk Pop duo Bunky. The eleven songs on ‘Animal Feelings’ are his most poppy and consistent ones to date and deserve a bigger audience.
Listen up you, if you’re into Animal Collective and the like, then ‘Animal Feelings’ was made for your ears. Unashamedly good pop music with its heart in the right place. Now excuse me while I dig out my battered old skateboard and go for a cruise.
‘Animal Feelings’ is out now on US indie label Asthmatic Kitty Records.
Listen here to ‘Paper’ by Rafter Roberts
Listen here to ‘Beauty Beauty’ by Rafter Roberts