Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *
If you can imagine a smile, beaming in the face of adversity, usually thankful for just having made it through each day without causing some sort of incident in which the brain will replay it over and over again till the subject becomes engrained, scarred, indelibly stamped on the forehead and seared like a brand on a cattle farm somewhere deep in the heart of Texas. If you can imagine that smile, then it doesn’t matter what they call you, you are in the realm of the Dumb Animals and it is arguably the best place to be.
For Wirral-based band Scaredycats, Dumb Animals is a true eye opener, a wonderful revelation of lyrical prowess and the sheer gall in carrying it off, like a suit stitched together from outrageous colour schemes, with the glint in the eye that can attract even the stoniest of hearts as it is being worn lovingly down the busy market place of music, Dumb Animals is magnificent, panache like steel, sensitive to lyric and music alike.
There is in the music a memory of how someone such as Neil Hannon from the Divine Comedy presents his music to the multitude, it is to embrace the poetic, to see the possibilities as endless and to make them match, make them larger than life and bold, to stand out and be memorable, not be trapped by the photographer’s camera and the slow lens but instead to be recorded in full flight; no dumb animal, just musicians of absolute worth.
In tracks such as Parcel Tracking, Independent Life, the brutality and underlying insanity of Bombs, Heart Attack, Are We Dead? and the album’s title track Dumb Animals, Scaredycats have shown that the poet doesn’t have to be stuffy, full of loathing for themselves and just two shorts away from delivering their lines in an awkward manner; they instead can be frank, engaging, have the most sparkling wit and ready humour, and even in the most disheartening of songs, in which the point of existence is challenged severely, it can still be something of absolute beauty that catches the soul and playfully strokes it till it purrs.
Dumb Animals, they are far in advance of us, they are the intellect to our plainness and arrogance and to that Scaredycats have broken the silence and should be lauded and raved over.
Ian D. Hall