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Wolf Eyes 

Human Animal (Sub Pop)

Wednesday, Nov 8 2006
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In its live sets, Michigan trio Wolf Eyes' music has been known to trigger pain in unlikely places of its audience members' bodies. (For instance, the last time I saw the group perform, these maleficent Midwesterners' high frequencies sent ripples of pain through my nuts.) On its second Sub Pop missive, Human Animal, Wolf Eyes tempers those kinds of baleful ballistics with deft dynamics, but the songs still aren't palatable for über-tasteful listener-supported radio stations.

As H.P. Lovecraft and Thomas Ligotti do in their fiction, Wolf Eyes mostly implies horror in its music rather than thrust it in your face. With Hair Police's Mike Connelly replacing Aaron Dilloway in the lineup, the group now stresses spaciousness and unsettling ambience. More than half of Human Animal evokes eerie atmospherics portending awful fates, tides of tar lapping against the shore, foreboding metallic clanks and drones, an aura of ecological catastrophe. The rest of the record consists of beats that thud like Hollywood punches, vocals that make Mike Patton's sound like Sufjan Stevens', and the last harrowing noises cows must hear before they become your meal. If Human Animal represents Wolf Eyes "mellowing out," it's still as ominous as a "Jeb Bush in 2008" ad campaign. —Dave Segal

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Dave Segal

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