Heart Failure Research Unit - Young Animals
In a recent interview, one-man band and thus prime mover behind Heart Failure Research Project, Dustin Anderson said that his favorite venues were "old, creaky halls with hundred-year-old histories and rickety shanties. They have an amazing haunted quality." "Young Animals" sounds like it was recorded in just such a place, with Anderson roaming around the space, near and away from the mics and the instruments, according to which sound interested him in the moment. This is a haunting, folk-based ambient triumph, full of melodic invention and an oddly raw whimsy that is often moving.
Most of these songs are about presence, or the lack of it, or it memory. From the titles alone you get the idea: "Now You're Gone," "I'm Haunted," "I Am Here," for starters. Anderson haunts his own songs with muted vocals, muffled piano and guitar, odd tempos. But he never suggests defeat or sadness. Even songs like "Won't You Die" or "Frozen Heart" have a hidden joy to them that is stunning when explored overtly. Those instances, like on the title track and "We Are Ghosts," explode in color and melody, Anderson's vocals taking on a soaring moan. What is haunting these songs is not only memory and loss but rejuvenation and peace.
"Young Animals" is brilliant, rich and necessary. Ontario med student Dustin Anderson, in Heart Failure Research Unit, has a forum for healing as vital as wherever his degree will take him.
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