It would take me a few years after the 2008 release of Animals by TTNG to hear the album for the first time. Only being 13, I don’t think I was ready then anyways. I would have taken it for granted, as 13-year old me did with most things. It wasn’t until I was maybe 17 that I heard this album for the first time, and for this delayed gratification, I am thankful.
When I found the electric version of Animals, I didn’t go through the slow process of swimming upstream that I do with most bands before I consider myself a fan. This was more of a dive. I fell into this music so hard that it was practically all I listened to for the second half of my junior year in high school.
Hearing the acoustic version of this album feels a lot like visiting an old friend. Even though you’ve both matured into adults, you can pick back up exactly where you left off as if nothing had changed at all. Except for the order of the songs, of course. I’m not sure why they felt it necessary to rearrange these songs, but I will say y’all really missed an opportunity to start the album you’re releasing for the second time with the words “so here we are again at the start.” I would have found that amusing.
The acoustic arrangements of these songs are like (I know I know, enough with the similes but hear me out on this one) a fine wine. They have aged well and are wildly intoxicating. The dryer notes of this album performed on acoustic guitars combined with the fruitful addition of instruments like saxophone, melodica, violin, and countless others are delightful. It’s yet another reason why Animals Acoustic is like wine.
Surprisingly, my favorite track on the album is the only instrumental song on the record. When that all-horn choir hit towards the end of “Elk,” my jaw hit the fucking floor. They really didn’t need to go that hard with this album, but they did that for us. I find it surprising that this one is my favorite because it was so refreshing to hear from the bands original vocalist, Stu Smith. No offense to their current vocalist Henry because I like his vocals a lot as well, but TTNG really peaked with Stu in my opinion.
The addition of some of my favorite musicians such as Yvette Young from Covet, Nate Kinsella from American Football and Birthmark, The Kraken Quartet AND the Mivos Quartet made this album that much more enjoyable. Especially since the entire record only took two weeks to transform from the tiny caterpillar of a thought that it once was into the beautiful butterfly it is now. This album ended up being everything I was expecting and more. If you haven’t listened to it yet, I would highly recommend it. You can find physical copies of this album that they released with Sargent House Records on their website or at any of the shows on their upcoming tour with Prince Daddy & the Hyena and The Kraken Quartet.
TTNG will be playing Animals in full with original vocalist Stu Smith this fall on a U.S. tour.
10/09 – Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge
10/10 – Ferndale, MI @ Loving Touch
10/11 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
10/12 – Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz PDB
10/13 – Hamden, CT @ Space Ballroom
10/15 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
10/16 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Bazaar
10/17 – Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church
10/18 – Washington, DC @ DC9
10/19 – Durham, NC @ Motorco Music Hall
10/20 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade