Album Review
Power Animals

Power Animals
by Renee-Louise Carafice

Bird Army Records

Review Date
10th July 2012
Reviewed by
Danielle Street

For her third album Renee-Louise Carafice has returned to the solitary realm of the bedroom musician. Recorded during a time of "intensive therapy", the nine folk-songs of haunting desolation on Power Animals run together like a stream of unconscious despair. It is almost imperceptible where one stops and the next starts, the turbulent flow only to be accentuated by unusual holes in the middle of tracks.

Billed as her most provocative album, Power Animals was recorded by the Nashville-based expatriate on the pinhole microphone on her laptop computer. Recapturing a childhood essence of escapism, she employs the use of toy instruments to express some of her darkest experiences and deepest thoughts. The result is a record that while undoubtedly cathartic for the artist, is hard-listening for the audience. For the most part Carafice's lyrics are distorted and indiscernible, but the instruments remain relatively clear despite her lo-fi approach to recording. On 'A Promise, A Fireworks Display', a calm guitar-based melody lures the listener into the track with a false sense of security... shortly before launching into lyrics, "I will knock his fucking teeth out of his head". It's certainly a short, sharp poke back into the reality of a broken person.

This raw and troubled approach to songwriting continues throughout the album, 'A Boat of Glass', begins almost like a jewellery-box tune, but soon Carafice is yowling "I am sorry for the damage I have caused, trying to come back as a ghost", before returning to drift over a layer of rainfall samples. One imagines it must take immense amounts of courage to expose the inner-workings of your mind in such a public way. And despite its discordance, there are glimmers of hope in Power Animals, little specks of light like the sun shining through autumn leaves. But then she smashes that serenity, and your eardrums. I think it fair to say this is an album that should stay where it began, the bedroom - reserved for those antisocial post-break up moments when you have mascara dripping down your face.

Update: A remastered version of Power Animals is set for release on May 4th, 2014.


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