Part of me wants to think that St. Paul's Fargo transplants Animal Lover takes its name from the Residents album of the same name. It doesn't really matter if that's the case or not, but for a band with such a wide range of influences, it's comforting to hear a band that isn't fixated on a single genre or is laboriously attempting to make sure they fit the mold of some post-something-or-other sound that is played out and simple to categorize.
To make it simple, Animal Lover is a punk/noise rock band that includes members from former Fargo ass-kickers Gumbi (Addison Shark & Nate Fisher) and Høst (Evan Bullinger).
So good, Pitchfork didn't know what to say other than to make the easy comparison to Jesus Lizard (and by extension Pissed Jeans). Whatever. Of course the influences are there, but it's a disservice to Animal Lover to not point out the ingenuity and incredible force that their songs exhibit. I'm not saying these cats are totally re-inventing the genre or blazing completely new trails, but (I think) the long history between the members allows them to tweak the sound so it never feels forced or excessive. It pounds and pummels; the vocals and guitar muscle their way from beneath the bass and drums, only to be sucked back in. It's a fucking whirlwind. Simple.
Over their three releases, Animal Lover has tightened up their sound and polished away some of the residual rust that may have been left over from their influences. It's fierce but also contains numerous subtle changes that make them efficient but a far cry from easy comparisons and categorization. Get on board, folks. Animal Lover is going to keep pushing this until that asteroid wipes us out. Or, until they form a Who cover band.