Recordings: Wolf Eyes – Human Animal

The second full-length release from Wolf Eyes on major label Sub Pop, Human Animal, is a radio-friendly depiction of the group’s musical wanderings since its first album, Burned Mind. The fact that Wolf Eyes, one of the harshest bands in the esoteric genre of American noise, signed to Sub Pop (of Nirvana fame) shocked the noise community at large. Could the general public really accept music’s elevation to the dissonant abstraction of noise? When the Black Dice started to receive critical praise and the Hair Police were booked for the 2004 Lollapalooza music festival, it seemed that the world could be ready.

Or maybe not. While Black Dice kept up the critically acclaimed work, Lollapalooza was canceled along with Hair Police’s 15-minute set. Wolf Eyes has kept busy with tours and collaborations, like with free jazz giant Anthony Braxton, but has avoided releasing anything new.

Now, two years after, Wolf Eyes offers Human Animal. Let’s just say Braxton’s influence didn’t rub off enough — Wolf Eyes simply reuses the same dualistic counter-plays polished on Burned Mind. Even more heartbreaking is that some songs contain elements that can possibly be labeled “melodic.” The apple has fallen far from the tree, indeed.