Fans of Jonathan Boulet‘s self-titled début may be somewhat thrown upon first listen to “You’re A Animal.” The newest track from the Australian folk-pop artist offers a sneak peek at his forthcoming sophomore album (set to be released next year), and it indicates a significantly new direction in his sound. From the very first note, “You’re A Animal” announces itself as a martial anthem powered by a relentlessly pounding drum rhythm. With lyrics like “I will soldier on…and on, and on, and on!” being chanted over a soundfield of guitar and myriad indeterminate instruments, the song leaves no space for the sort of reflective rumination that pervades (most of) the first album. Gone is anything acoustic, and likewise any lines as meditative or somber as, for instance “March to the Poles and meet me there/ Leave all your wars and all your cares/ Find me and you, my name, but I can’t remember you/ Would you go?” (from “North to South East to You”).
But it would be flat out wrong to suggest that these almost defiant gestures of ceaseless energy – which are at once carnal and furious – have no precedent in Boulet’s prior work. Disappointed – or shocked – fans should note that they didn’t just appear from nowhere. Just give “Ones Who Fly Twos Who Die” another listen; though less of a full-fledged manic attack than “YAA,” the tune features the same “tribal” tympani sound and choral vocals. Both tunes seem to reveal a range of influences, from Animal Collective’s Water Curses EP to fellow-Aussie Xavier Rudd to, of all things, Chumbawumba (yeah, I went there… bet you didn’t see that one coming).
In short, there are continuities that shouldn’t be overlooked. And frankly, what Boulet is doing is technically more interesting than before. “YAA” contains atmosphere and confusion, and it brings to the listener an almost cinematic feeling of being chased through the forest. Some may lament the loss of the more personal voice that showed on the self-titled album, but I, for one, look forward to the next full-length release to see what the dizzying swirl of energy unveiled here yields.