‘God Save The Animals’ is lo-fi king Alex G’s ninth full length project, and his first in three years (besides 2022’s ‘We’re All Going to the World’s Fair OMPS’). Alex G is an artist who has shown an unrivalled output since stellar debut ‘Race’ back in 2010, with a slew of singles, EPs and splits of his own, and credits on projects by Frank Ocean, Porches and Japanese Breakfast, among others.
As we said in our review of single ‘Miracles’, this new record is a departure sonically from his lo-fi roots, with a more refined and polished sound being delivered this time around. However, opening track on this new record, ‘After All’, seems to pay homage to his low fidelity history, track showing off a backbone of hazy keys and effected pitched-up vocals. Lead single ‘Runner’ encapsulates the entire soundscape of the record beautifully, a delectable combination of plucky keys, lazy drums and that classic Alex G guitar sound. As well, this single had Alex, who is a product of an arguably niche internet scene with an incredibly dedicated cult fanbase, appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon – a stark departure from his humble Bandcamp beginnings.
The record bobs along gently, having the guitar (as per) as the focal point of the tracklist. Alex also shows a step-up in vocal ability; it is refreshing to hear his voice clearly and crisply after so many years of lo-fi and DIY recordings. That said, the record occasionally dips into these lo-fi elements, whether it be room-reverb drenched vocals or over saturation on some instrumentation. ‘S.D.O.S’ is a primarily instrumental cut, housing a haunting Mellotron-sounding motif before dropping into heavily-AutoTuned, 100 gecs style vocals. Hearing Alex G meddle with genres is not at all unfamiliar but comes as a welcome surprise on such a ‘live’ album.
‘Immunity’ also takes this up a notch, with the entire cut boasting these AutoTuned vocals. It also closes itself with a bizarre instrumental jam, a jarring wall of wobbly guitars and staccato piano. ‘Forgive’ closes off the record, also being the longest track on the album. It’s a moody country-meets-classic Alex G track, presenting banjos, some crunchy electric guitar and a loose backbeat. Like a few other moments on the record, it is mostly instrumental, fading out the LP with a lead-guitar breakdown.
‘God Bless the Animals’ has Alex G on home turf with his sleepy but sweet acoustic guitar-driven tracks, as well as a good helping of lo-fi textures, catchy piano licks and some of his strongest vocal performances to date. Though despite the high fidelity of much of the project, it doesn’t stop Alex from experimenting with AutoTune and stranger sounds. So while the singles may be his most commercially appealing to date, he never once loses integrity or his aural signature as an artist.
Words: James Mellen