Out: The emergence of Animal Talk

Speaking volumes in Central
By MICHAEL MAROTTA  |  February 1, 2012

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PRIMED Animal Talk's willingness to bust out a Joy Division cover early in their set speaks volumes about the young rock band's already impressive collection of songs.
Last Thursday night in Cambridge, the common act of covering Joy Division suddenly went from timeless to timely. Three songs into Animal Talk's rousing set at T. T. the Bear's Place, their take on the 1979 classic Factory Records cut "Transmission" concluded with stage banter reflecting the bizarre times in which we live. "So, Joy Division is selling a Mickey Mouse shirt?" asked guitarist Ben Bourgeois. "Is Disney selling that?"

Yes, but not anymore. After reports circulated last week that the House of Mouse was selling a shirt with the post-punk band's iconic Unknown Pleasures sleeve silhouetted into the shape of Mickey's recognizable head and ears, the corporation pulled the shirt off Magic Kingdom shelves and its online store. Now it will cost you a few hundo off eBay.

Normally when a band covers Joy Division, it's a set closer. But Animal Talk's willingness to bust it out early on speaks volumes about the young rock band's already impressive collection of songs, and you need no one else's compositions when you can conclude with the brazen synth strut of "Can't Dance with It" and the indie riff cannon "Into the Sun." Last September's homonymous debut EP, produced by Grammy-winning Ducky Carlisle at Ice Station Zebra studio in Medford, features five single-worthy selections. And since Animal Talk recorded those back in May, a handful of new songs will be released via a follow-up in the spring, once the affable quartet hurdles SXSW.

"We were just a bunch of dudes playing in other bands, and said, 'Fuck it let's just all play together,' " Bourgeois tells me post-show, standing by their merch table, signing their EP's liner notes for fans. "Now we have shit to do."

With previous gigs in local pop stalwarts like Violet Nine and Shadwell, the members of Animal Talk quickly came together after vocalist Steven Kilgore relocated to Boston from Atlanta just last year. Bourgeois hails from Louisiana, and drummer Greg Faucher and bassist Rob Johanson are native Bay Staters — but their chemistry was instant. "For us it's all about the dynamic of our personalities," Bourgeois says. "We are all best friends, and we all trust each other."

Related: Class of 2012: Boston's 12 best new bands, Out: A Dark Horse at T.T. the Bear’s, Out: Speedy Ortiz come together, More more >
  Topics: Live Reviews , Joy Division, live reviews, rock bands,  More more >
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