“First Animal” is the debut album of Trevor Bates, a musician from Little Rock, AR, self-released November 13th.
The Album is a one-man effort, as Trevor wrote, composed, sang and played all instruments, in a messy and heavy celebration of good old-fashioned Garage Psych, with lyrics that range from innocent, to cryptic, to mythological, with a background music where loud guitars, both lead and rhythm take center stage.
The opening track, and the album’s Highlight, “My Baby’s Cryin'” with a heavy riff in the opening bars that serves as a statement, as if to say “I arrived, and there’s nothing you can do about it”, with surprisingly innocuous lyrics about a significant other:
Let me hold your hand
Let me dry your cheek
Baby I’m around
You gotta tell me what you need
The following track, “Words”, is more of a split-personality affair, with stanzas alternating between raw screams and subdued vocals, with a start stop musical structure.
The 6th track, “Mother” uses an unusual 3/4 time signature with a somewhat bluesy feel augmented by an organ, with lyrics that seem taken form a book of an unknown mythology:
Four thousand years
Nine un-worthies appear
Field, valley, reap
Wakes the mother from sleep
The 9th track, “(Don’t Put Out) The Candle” takes a detour toward a weirder direction, with slightly distorted vocals, strange guitar sounds in the background and a short fuzz guitar part.
The closing track, “All Along The Way” is the most accessible song, a folksy tune with minimal percussion and acoustic guitar, serves as an appropriate way to end the listening experience on good terms.
The album feels a bit uneven musically, but the overall result is a record packed with good tunes and no boring moments, the production effort is noticeable, the vocals are well recorded (the first thing on my checklist), and signals a very interesting musician that’s worth keeping an eye and an ear on.