Released: April 2015
Toronto-born, California-based songstress Lila Rose has returned with one thing on her mind: saving the world. Unflinching in her staunch defence of our planet, with We.Animals. Rose presents eleven powerfully emphatic bites of moody indie-pop that serve as ruthless attacks on humanity’s destruction of its own home and enthralling sonic entertainment to boot. A bold deviation from organic hippie protest songs, this LP finally sends an age-old message through the medium of 21st century pop music.
One wouldn’t expect an album focused on saving the Earth to feature complex electronic polyrhythms and distorted synth sounds but it is exactly this kind of technological experimentation that characterises We.Animals. Lila Rose has no interest in the quaint, lamenting sounds of folk music, nor the trippy, spiritual style that characterises many eco-friendly artists’ work. Hers is an album of protest, of anger and frustration at the human race’s irresponsibility, and its sound emphatically reflects that. Heavy bass and piercing feedback sounds amongst highly creative electronic percussion serve as the basis for an album that insists on having its earthly voice heard in the realms of electronic music.
The balancing act performed by Rose throughout the record is skilfully achieved, as in equal measure she conveys a powerful ecological message and a bold statement of intent in terms of her musical direction. A minimalist drum pad beat serves as a backdrop to the forceful vocal performance on NOW, the title of which is heard vehemently vocalised throughout the track as Rose insists on putting an end to humankind’s procrastination. One cannot deny that the strongest asset of We.Animals. is Rose’s vocals, impassioned and technically faultless throughout, but by juxtaposing her naturally perfect performances with dirty, distorted electric sounds the music is taken to a whole new level.
Ghostly melodies float above scraping acoustics on Stars, whilst a crackling, raw vocal texture is heard on Nothing To Lose, the potential highlight of the record that conjures up images of Rose shouting protest chants through a megaphone with both its basic production style and the intensity of the percussion. Things stay consistently epic throughout the LP, with This Could Be HA and Servant proving to be two particularly notable soundbites of enraged electronic indie music. Only in the album’s final quarter does it descend into low-tempo balladry, and by this point the exhausting aggression of previous tracks makes this piano-led style perfectly welcome.
Finely defying any expectations of the traditional eco-conscious record, We.Animals. provides the Earth with a powerful, defiant and most importantly relevant voice in the pop music arena. Here Rose has fused the organic, spiritual and technological to thrilling effect as she fights the planet’s corner with admirable creativity. Her voice alone is exhilarating, and supported by this inspired instrumentation and sublime production, Lila Rose becomes a true force to be reckoned with.