I was aware of Minimal Animal because he mixed the debut single from GracieSoux – ‘Brian Cox’ (read our review) – however I was unaware of his own releases until he got in contact to ask whether I’d like to review this one.
This is one of those songs where you know without reading the release press release, or indeed listening to the words, what it’s about. It’s the sound of uncertainty – the slow juddering of sounds, the off-kilter stabs of sound, the skitters of anxiety running through it. And then I listened to the words, and read the release blurb. Bearing in mind that it’s not unknown for me to read a song entirely wrong, I was relieved to realise that I hadn’t read it wrong.
The song explores depression from the inside, and some of the ways in which it can impact upon personal relationships. And it does that with words that cut deep, words that speak of a deep, and perhaps personal, knowledge of how depression can affect you in a relationship. It speaks of the feelings of not being good enough – ‘You’re strength where I’m weakness / you’re light where I’m darkness / you’re the truth to my barefaced lie’ and the feeling that your depression can make others feel that you are not good enough – ‘I crave your completeness / but it’s scaring me shitless / that you don’t crave mine’.
The music that runs beneath these wonderful words is sparse – piano, light delicate sounds, unexpected, but loaded with emotion, sounds that swoop in – a chorus that’s bigger, richer. The vocals are simple and unadulterated but you feel that they are meant.
This is one of those songs where words, vocals and music have been put together in a way where they work together – in this case to tell a story, to paint a picture in words and music of a feeling, to describe how depression feels. As somebody with depression it explains and describes something I’ve never been able to put into words.
It’s beautiful. It’s sad but it’s beautiful. You may shed a tear listening to it, you may feel sad; I did both. But, you see, there’s nothing wrong with that. It just goes to show how brilliantly the words have been written, the music has been put together; to convey emotions and feeling.
Following his first EP in 2019, ‘I Thought That We’d Be Happy Here’, and 2020’s quadruple releases of ‘Don’t Even’, ‘Landlocked’, a well-received remix of Before Breakfast’s ‘Stand’ and finally a collaboration with Sheffield-based singer-songwriter Tom Featherstone – ‘Alright (at home)’ recorded on phones during the height of lockdown. This is Minimal Animal’s first 2021 release.