It’s fitting this new Au song’s called “Are Animals” because Luke Wyland & his band of Portland noisemakers do a pretty good Animal Collective impersonation on it. Then at 1:21 it shifts, breaking from that opening whiplash into the organ and horn-drenched experimental Americana we dig so much. The hoots and hollers remain but are filtered differently, becoming the song’s undertow, until we get some female soloing. Fair warning: If it sounds like you walked into the room after the party already got started it’s because along with “Are Animals” is the second part of a two-song suite (part the first is the airy, vocal and instrumental sacred choiring of “All My Friends”), which opens the band’s sophomore album Verbs. For all that, it does a mighty fine job of standing alone.
Au – “Are Animals” (MP3)
What you just didn’t hear is how “Are Animals” shifts into the spacious, near silence and saw-singing of “Summerheat,” which expands and deepens the hoots and hollers, reminding you that all good parties come to an end. Au really does makes us think of some kind of musical Shaker troupe (or choose some other rural religious clique). Not sure why. By the end of Verbs, they’ve steered the ship into a darker morass called “Sleep,” which drifts and shudders into a spacious finale.
Au – “Sleep” (MP3)
05/23 Seattle, WA @ Happy Times Fun Club %
05/24 Portland, OR @ Backspace %
05/25 Davis, CA @ The Firehouse %
05/26 Irvine, CA @ UC Irvine %
05/27 San Diego, CA @ Ché Café %
05/28 Los Angeles, CA @ The Smell %#
05/29 San Luis Obispo, CA @ Retrospect %
05/30 San Francisco, CA @ The Cushionworks %
% w/ Parenthetical Girls, PWRFL Power
# w/ Abe Vigoda