Sound Advice: Analytical Dreaming by Animal Faces
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Sound Advice: Analytical Dreaming by Animal Faces

Animal Faces' debut EP is a landmark 905er-core release, blending odd time signatures with elegantly tangled guitars.

Straight out of the soul-sucking suburbs of Mississauga come Animal Faces, a band that doesn’t blast Eurotrash beats. Nor do they have canned tans, wear Randy River flame shirts, or tool around the clubbing district in their parents’ Mitsubishis. Believe it or not, these 905ers play mind-meltingly brilliant post-hardcore, and their eruptive debut EP, Analytical Dreaming, (independently released and on the house) can out-convolute any art-rock/experimental indie/dance punk collective the downtown core throws their way.

Knocked together with members of equally impressive 905er-core bands The Love and Terror Cult, Authors, and Soft Floors, Animal Faces have a knack for merging discordant guitar-work and irregular time signatures to make sublimely beautiful noise. Opener “Forward Through” contains heavy shades of At The Drive-In: vocalist Ryan Naray unleashes a Cedric Bixler-Zavala–esque punk rock bark over dissonant chords, angular riffs, and off-kilter beats. What makes Animal Faces unique, however, is how elegant they make it all sound. Heavy distortion is eschewed for clean Telecaster twang and unhinged aggression is reined in for calculated songwriting. “Follow Faster” is a buffet of tangled chords and labyrinthine time signatures, while “A Deep Thought” (streaming above) is all delicate, interlocking note-picking and bouncy rhythms, building in dramatic tension towards a slow, sludgy breakdown anchored in monstrous bass fuzz. And all this from a goddamn three-piece.

Call it a byproduct of suburban boredom, but Analytical Dreaming may be the most intricately written post-hardcore release of the year. Animal Faces have crushed the testosterone-jacked post-hardcore template and reconstructed it as something intelligent, refined, and very much their own. Watch out for these whippersnappers—with chops like these, they’re bound to have Hazel McCallion–level longevity.

Every Tuesday, Torontoist scours record store shelves in search of the city’s most notable new releases and brings you the best—or sometimes just the biggest—of what we’ve heard in Sound Advice.