Long Neck are a band that create lush, verdant songs with rich textures, and turn them into soft, introspective album experiences that are almost magical in how they teleport a listener into a completely different head space. In their latest album, “Soft Animal,” this is especially clear, as simple pianos and guitars make way for what is an emotional, thought provoking romp through singer/songwriter Lily Mastrodimos’ head.
“Soft Animals,” is an album made up of careful, precisely written moments. With a wide range of verdant textures and lyrics that touch upon deeper, darker themes, there’s truly a lot to love with this album. This is the third release from the band, and it definitely shows in how their songwriting has evolved over the years.
Songs on “Soft Animals,” are noticeably missing fancy tricks, instead keeping arrangements grounded. Instead, the focus is on the musical texture of every song, with rich and lush instrumentals making up the backbone of the album. You’re not going to find any poppy vocals here, this one’s an album that’s very in touch with its more indie sensibilities.
That’s not to say it completely eschews anything modern however. Some songs make excellent use of synths, and the production here is excellent. It’s left minimal, but adds a certain degree of spaciness to the mix, giving some songs a large, colder feel. Considering the topics and themes that the album is tackling, it fits shockingly well and adds a lot to every song.
Speaking of, the album’s themes and topics are a sharp contrast from the album’s relaxed vibe. While many of the songs on “Soft Animal,” can be positively described as peaceful or soothing, the lyrics are darker, more introspective and carry along a longer narrative about loving one’s self and others. In combination with the mix of the song, it gives things a wearier atmosphere, without losing any of its charm.
In the album’s closing moments, we’re greeted by the title track, which builds up nicely to a strong climax. It’s one of the only songs from the album has more upbeat energy, and it also sweetly summarizes what the album’s all about. As a closer, it’s exactly what the album needed. A strong, more joyful song to end things off, and it’s a good one too.
“Soft Animals,” does a lot of things, but it excels at all of it. Long Neck’s aspirations with this one were far more personal, resulting in a very down-to-earth album. We really enjoyed it throughout its entire runtime. Our highlights are “Ants,” and “Gardener,” two songs that really capture the album’s general vibe. If you like folk music, don’t miss out on this one.