It's a fairly complex record, touching on Dear Reader protagonist Cheri MacNeil's loss of religion during recent years, but the cynicism is far from overwhelming. Instead, there's a broad spectrum of emotion here.
Your exact emotional response to Idealistic Animals probably depends on your own state of mind when you start listening - I get the feeling it's the kind of music you can mould and shape to meet your needs. Despite that, this is an album with plenty of personality, and it suggests MacNeil's going to be just fine without religion on her side.
Monkey (You Can Go Home) is the upcoming single release from Idealistic Animals, and is due to hit the stands on January 23rd. It's among the opening tracks on the album, after the haunting Fox (Take Your Chances). With a much more carefree melody that runs throughout the song, Monkey is the lighter side of this album, but no less accomplished than its neighbours.
It's also one that we can give you a preview of, in the form of a live video and a free mp3 download. So click 'play' on the YouTube player below, for an unlisted live performance of Monkey (You Can Go Home) filmed in Berlin...
...and if you like that, you can download the original, recorded version of Monkey (You Can Go Home) via the SoundCloud widget below:
Monkey (You Can Go Home) is by no means the only highlight on this richly recorded album, but the tracks vary so much that it's impossible to compare them directly against one another. Instead, I'd suggest you preview them using the iTunes widget below, and decide for yourself which you like best - the tinkling piano accompaniment, swelling strains of brass, or the familiar, fast-paced sound of a strumming guitar.
Idealistic Animals is fun and haunting at the same time - there's obviously a light-hearted element to naming each track after a different creature, but the finished product is in no way harmed by that original concept. Instead, the overall connection set out in the track naming gives the individual songs free rein to have more distinctive and different personalities of their own.
For more insight into the Dear Reader creative process, take a look at the behind-the-scenes video below, which also offers a glimpse of how an album such as this comes into being...
So, Dear Reader clearly have a sense of humour, yet their music is as complete and legitimate as anything hitting the charts at the moment. Should that seem odd? Not really - it's just a reminder that not everything in life is black and white. And it is that very richness of diversity that Idealistic Animals celebrates.
Final Score: 81%