Jaunty little cabaret music in the form of 12 songs, that’s Stanley‘s Animals with Amazing Disguises. A suave mix of chamber pop and psychedelia, it’s a trip to those magazines from the 70s showing swanky people in the French Riviera, all clad in synthetics, xylophone/chiming bells combos still ringing in the now refurbished theatres of yore that now serve WKD to punters.
Nothing wrong with WKD, but there’s a time and a place and this album is more port and edam, some gin and tonic and port salut and less sausage roll dipped in Carlsberg.
‘Join hands’ gives a misleading impression. Don’t take this wrong way, it’s a great album opener, but it makes you think that the album will be darker than it really is. The atmosphere becomes more relaxed, with two pair of elegant songs for you who long for seats covered in vinyl in funky patterns (I miss ’em). ‘Edit the night’, a wish we have uttered many an occasion, with its Western stylings, is cinematic, paired up perfectly with ‘Monkeys & Friends’, a dreamier side of lounge. Heck, Stanley retakes that Western sense of grandiose with ‘Sandwiches & Tea’ (love the rhythm here). The album sometimes goes into that staple 70s pop sounds (or 80s ballada romántica from México) in the gorgeous ‘Made for TV’ and ‘2 against 3’.
Now, before you dismiss this as an smorgasbord of flowery diner music, there comes a twist. Remember how ‘Join hands’ gives the impression of the album being dark? The impression is a verbatim description when you listen to the fuzz heavy tracks ‘Obstacles’ and ‘Dance like your daddy’. It sure is a curveball but it’s a great change of pace AND they do keep the swanky bells around.
Stanley‘s Animals with amazing disguises is a bit of chamber pop, a bit of stylish rock and all sorts of enjoyable. Play it while sipping a Long Island Ice Tea.
Words: Sam J. Valdes Lopez