I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but every time I listen to Grande Ole Party’s latest album, Humanimals, the word that comes to mind is `dirty.’ Not dirty in a sexually explicit way, but the raw vocals that pronounce this record conjures images of thrashing drunken fights between two cowgirls beside a barnyard bonfire. This album comes out with riffs blazing and doesn’t let up until its very last note.
Doing double duty on vocals and drums is Kristin Gundred. She has simultaneously taken on the two arguably most difficult and important positions in the band, leading her bandmates, John Paul and Mike, on an out-of-control ride. You may think you’ve started safely in front of your music player with an innocent enough looking CD sitting in front of you. But once you start the Humanimals journey, you start to veer and meander so rapidly and quickly that where you end up is no longer your decision. The album art captures the essence of what Humanimals is all about with the three members of Grande Ole Party’s heads atop a multi-specied animal and Gundred’s face full frontal with mouth open and blaring.
Considering Gundred’s multi tasking, the beats are kept simple and very heavy with her vocals resting nicely on the syncopated rhythms. The rough and rash vocals are what make this album so appealing, Gundred’s overconfidence flooding the tracks in a way not too dissimilar from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Rilo Kiley. Any preconceived notions of female-led rock bands are broken in one fell swoop. Humanimals‘ lyrics spend a lot of time spurring questions from its listeners but it gives them even more answers.
Produced by Rilo Kiley’s Blake Sennett, the two bands’ sounds travel parallel lines of thrash rock with scattered spotting of pop. The lead-off song on the album, “Look Out Young Son,” is a prime example of exactly what most listeners are looking for: a catchy and dark sound that is just plain likeable. “Redrum Heart” only makes a blip on my radar because it feels out of place with its overly poppy chorus. This 13-track album did seem to pass by me quickly partially because most of the tracks are surprisingly short.
This San Diego based band is just getting started with their debut album, Humanimals but have already made quite a stir in the world of indie rock. This definitely is not the last we’ll hear of Grande Ole Party or Gundred’s voice, and I am anxiously awaiting a sophomore release and am hoping for a possible headlining tour. Until then, Humanimals is a complete aural and aesthetic package and will remain in constant rotation in my CD player.