The foursome — Nic Snyder and Josh Sickels (formerly of Takeover UK), Chad Monticue (The Juliana Theory), and Mike Yamamoto — played a release show at Brillobox in May of 2014, then went quiet. The band never officially broke up, but the members silently moved on; Snyder moved to Los Angeles and continued recording solo work, Sickels opened Rockaway Pizzeria in White Oak.
Now it seems the unofficial hiatus is coming to a partial close, as Sickels and Monticue have reunited under the moniker Animal Scream for a new album due out in April. The first single, "Let Me In," premiered today and can be streamed below.
"There are pretty strong political/working-class undertones throughout the record," says Sickels. "'Let Me In' at first glance could sound like some sort of romantic song with the 'I’ll be your boy, just let me in,' but it’s actually a critique of American capitalism. Basically, like what do I gotta do to get ahead? Want me to dance for ya? I’ll be your boy, just let me in."
While stylistically, the song has little in common with 1,2,3 — acoustic strings and slide guitars are replaced here by synths and heavily processed vocals — there's a throughline in how it conveys anxiety in a comfortable, catchy package. Monticue says of the change in sound, "I’m not really sure we could do any better than Big Weather."
Monticue and Sickels (who plan on filling out the band in the coming months, likely to a four-piece) chose "Let Me In" because it seemed like a fitting introduction to the record as a whole, something dark and unexpectedly funky ("evil Motown" is how it's described on Bandcamp).
"We wanted something to grab listeners by the throat a bit," says Monticue. "I like the intensity of it. The record is sort of about anxiety displacement, a lost-at-sea kind of record. I like how scatterbrained it sounded and frantic, but still with hooks."
That sense of conflict and competing narratives runs throughout the record and stems from the dynamic and chemistry in the songwriting process. In 1,2,3, Snyder would be the primary songwriter and Sickels would help him refine the ideas and challenge to make them stranger and more ambitious. In Animal Scream, Monticue and Sickels have found similar success with that approach.
"Chad will bring the pop, and he’ll let it be weird, and I’ll make it even weirder than that," says Sickels. "Then we just push the envelope as far as we can until we say, 'alright.'"
Expect another single from Animal Scream in March and keep an ear out for the official release date of the full-length project. More information can be found here.