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Tiny Animals
Our Own Time
North Street Records
www.tinyanimals.net


Tiny Animals' new disc Our Own Time is the type of album that you have to delve into before reaching songs that can stand on their own rather than leaning on the formulaic patterns of their predecessors. The threesome of lead vocalist/guitarist Chris Howerton, his sister Rita Maye on drums, keys and backing vocals, and bassist/backing vocalist Anton Kreisl rely heavily in the beginning on melodies that sound very similar to the power punk set of One Eleven Records' alumni like Mashlin and Rory and Columbia Records' Boys Like Girls and Bullet For My Valentine. Our Own Time is released by the indie label North Street Records and gratefully the band blends strings by Melissa Tong and sound effects from Kevin Mazzarelli to fatten up the tracks and have them break away from Warped Tour so that the latter half of the album does not sound dated.

Selections like "Fight Or Flight" and "You Let The Whole World Down" are typical of the music heard on the Warped Tour circa 2003-2006, which does not make them throw away tracks necessarily, but it does make them sound dated. "I Can't Cry Forever" commences the band's voyage away from leaning on their predecessors and forming buds of their own with poignant lyrics that describe, "Say goodbye / That's what they say / Should I try it's so hard to walk away / Peddle to the max / Panic as I slip losing my grip / Now off track / Faces turn to wax / Got to make a stand but I can't handle whiplash / Never looking back." The insecurities expressed are bold and honest which gives the song a genuineness that compliments the music.

Moving on, the album starts to sound like it was molded from the band's hands and not configured to fit somebody else's calibrations. The rhythmic beats of "Wait For Me" propel a dance vibe, and the glazy sheen of "I Don't Need This Love" is injected with bursts of muscular guitar chords. The sedate sprigs turfing "The Moment" build and recede, congealing into a cyclical jaunt through the progressions similar to the rises and falls adorning "Heroes Of The Coast" in which only the peaks have a robust epic rock sound. The gently splayed synth notes dabbed along "Nah Nah Nah" turn into whipping flourishes through the chorus parts, and the final number "Love Scene" is a straight, synth-based instrumental that revels in positive sensations.

Tiny Animals inevitably come into their own by the end of the album; it just takes them time to arrive there. When they break out of the house party/punk vibe of their predecessors, Our Own Time shows possibilities for the band. Based in New York City, Tiny Animals may display a likeness to commercialized power punk but their album demonstrates that they are capable of so much more.

-Susan Frances

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