I’ve shared my mixed feelings about Animal Tropical before. The recent release of AT drummer Jorge Rubiera’s Can’t Stop album Neighborhood, which I love live and really like on record, only mixed me up more.
And now there are these three Animal Tropical videos from the B Tapes blog. In the videos, Rubiera (percussion, vocals), Jose Castello (guitar, piano, vocals), and Jarrett Hann (bass, vocals) perform three unreleased songs and a cover, and the long-time friends’ innate musicality comes through in spades. You’ve got Castello trading in a Spanish guitar for piano mid-song, Hann grooving on the bass from one key to the next, and Rubiera keeping time on maracas and a helm.
You’ve also got a full helping of Castello the Cultured Dandy, which is what put me off about Animal Tropical in the first place (despite my enjoyment of Kevin Barnes’ similar persona on Of Montreal records). But Castello raises his brow unapologetically high and, you know, I think I’m starting to give in to the charm of unabashed snootiness. I like these songs a lot actually, in part because of how much fun the trio is having playing together. I’m not sure how the meowing factors into my slow conversion. I’m not sure I want to know. I am sure, however, that if anyone was born to sing the words “Rocococococo Sofa”, it was Castello. Enjoy.
“Rococo Sofa” and “Oxfords of the East”
“Sermonette” (Lambert Hendricks and Ross cover)