ANIMAL ALPHA – Pheromones

ANIMAL ALPHA - Pheromones


Racing Junior
Release date: October 14, 2005

User Review
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In their home country of Norway, Animal Alpha has already earned themselves quite a reputation as a live band. They are highly energetic on stage, and seem to never fail to deliver a party-packed set of hard-hitting Psycho Post-Grunge songs (yes, that’s right, you read the words “party” and “Grunge” in the same sentence).

It’s singer Agnete Kjølsrud who draws the most attention towards the band. With her theatrical make up, costumes, and behavior, she looks like no other front figure in Rock. She wears her act like an alter ego, and this way Kjølsrud makes her mark as one rare female answer to the likes of Alice Cooper, Kiss, and Marilyn Manson.

Her voice is remarkable as well. She sings her way through the songs with a constant mix of styles. It’s theatrical, like her visual appearance, and reminds of a mix of Björk, Perry Farrell (Jane’s Addiction), and a little child. However, on the Pheromones recording, her voice gets way too multi-layered … a strange choice by producer Sylvia Massy Shivy (Tool, Smashing Pumpkins, System Of A Down).

Anyway, the album sure conveys a ball. A crazy one from time to time: a party at the asylum. Animal Alpha does not dive into their compositions -– they sound like they are trying to burst them from within … successfully. Their (Norwegian) hit single “Bundy” is one great example of this, a madman trying to break himself out of a straightjacket.

Despite the madness, the songs do not lack structure. Animal Alpha sure knows where they are going, and this is to a great extent thanks to the rhythm section. Too frequently, well-worked/collaborated rhythm sections are described by the word ”tight”. However, this time, built around skinsman Jacobsen and Bidtnes on the bass, the use of the term is totally justified.

Pheromones sounds in several ways like the crazy/unruly sister of Auf Der Maur, the early 2004 release by Melissa Auf Der Maur (Smashing Pumpkins, Hole). Clever guitar riffs get poured out constantly, and along all the structured noise and madness comes a constant message: Animal Alpha is not radio-friendly — they are heavy, and they sure are alternative. Still, it looks like they are going to achieve a surprisingly large number of fans. Norwegian media have been paying them a large amount of attention for quite a while, and they made a notably popular festival attraction throughout last summer.

Their album might not manage to capture their strongest selling point: their live appearance. However, there are several moments on Pheromones that will thrill you. Check out “Billy Bob Jackson,” “Most Wanted Cowboy,” “Catch Me,” “Bend Over,” and the aforementioned and groundbreaking “Bundy” — all killers


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