Matthew Politoski has been releasing music under the name Animal Flag since 2009 — most recently with 2016’s LP — and, over the years, his sonic frame of reference has morphed and his cast of collaborators has expanded. Animal Flag’s next album, which is called Void Ripper, is the first recorded with what, for now, seems to be a stable lineup — singer/guitarist Politoski, guitarist Sai Boddupalli, bassist Zach Weeks, and drummer Alex Pickert — and that solidity translates over to the album’s confidence and assuredness.
The album’s lead single, “Why,” is about the great cosmic joke of existence. It starts off with a slow-burn portrait of a humdrum origin story: a couple getting married because why not, a conception with less-than-enthusiastic beginnings. The chorus explodes and crackles into life, as Politoski reaches Oberstian levels of intensity: “Now you’re a speck of dust on a floating rock/ You’re the fastest hand on the smallest clock/ You’re a vapor bird with a body cage/ And when you break out, it’ll leave everyone in pain,” he sings, seeming both infinite and insignificant. It settles back into a scratchy denouement, with Politoski ending on the persistent question that haunts its title: “Sometimes I laugh and sometimes I cry, and lately I’ve been feeling like I’ll never know why.”
Void Ripper is coming out later this year via Cameron Boucher’s label Flower Girl Records. Listen to “Why” below.
02 “Void Ripper”
06 “Lord Of Pain”
07 “I Can Hear You Laugh”
04/01 Asbury Park, NJ @ House Of Independents ^
04/03 Hamden, CT @ Space Ballroom ^
04/04 Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club ^
04/27 New York, NY @ Trans Pecos
04/28 Philadelphia, PA @ Everybody Hits
05/04 Manchester, NH @ The Bungalow
05/05 Cambridge, MA @ The Democracy Center
^ w/ Sorority Noise
Void Ripper is out 4/13 via Flower Girl Records.