Hearbroke Motel by Animal Scream

Release date: April 7, 2023
Label: Self-Released

When the sound of a certain band or artist is characterised as “all over the place”, it usually is not a good sign of what you might expect from a certain album. Still, what if that band/artist takes quite a few musical cues and is able to make them work together by achieving a good balance of influences?

Case in point here is Pittsburgh’s Animal Scream and their second album Heartbroke Hotel. Chad Monticue and Josh Sickels, who comprised half the lineup of another intriguing Pittsburgh band, 1,2,3 seem to have decided here to spill it all out, and then piece it up in an order that made perfect reason to them.


Yes, the sounds of these 11 tracks cover a seemingly infinite ground, and yet Monticue and Sickels were able to establish quite a unified order that covers everything from the eighties New York’s no wave sound, prime A Certain Ratio, Angelo Badalamenti’s work for David Lynch’s movies, electronic versions of Phil Spector’s sixties pop, touches of Broadcast, MF DOOM-style production and what not else.

At the same time, they are able to reference other things they like, as in ‘Strangled Up In Two’ (they couldn’t have called it ‘Tangled Up In Blue,’ could they?).

And yes, it does work in a not-so-strange, but still, left-field way as the duo has envisioned it. Quite a treat, this one.

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