“Believe it or not, this didn’t start out as a record,” says Mike McFadden, lead singer of the band Animal Years about their aptly named album, This Is An Album Called Animal Years. “We had this patchwork of songs that had never quite fit on other projects and when we looked at them all together, we realized that the songs told a story.”
He could easily be describing the band itself. Comprised of McFadden (vocals), Anthony Saladino (bass), and Anthony Spinnato (drums), the Nashville-based three-piece’s upbeat, stick-in-your-head songs don’t quite fit any one genre, but feel like familiar favorites from the very first listen.
Animal Years has been pegged as falling into every niche possible: rock, pop, Americana, singer-songwriter, and folk. Rolling Stone even named the band one of the “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know,” dubbing the music as “campfire sing-alongs polished up for the big city and the big stage.”
And back to that story... It’s the tried and true coming of age tale about growing up, falling in and out of love, finding your voice, and creating your place in the world.
McFadden’s unabashedly personal, heart-on-his-sleeve songwriting style captures the micro-celebrations and tragedies of everyday life in perfectly-packaged melodies. Whether he’s crooning a ballad while strumming an acoustic guitar or full-throated wailing with an electric strapped across his chest, McFadden delivers emotion that is more than relatable – it’s infectious.
His songwriting takes off with the power-rhythm duo of Saladino and Spinnato, an on and off-stage yin and yang. Saladino, who falls naturally into the role of director, is a wiry spitfire on stage, calling cues and continually priming the pump that powers the band’s spirited live performance. Spinnato, always ready with a sarcastic or witty bit of banter, brings steady balance or turns up the raucous intensity to keep the listener dialed in.
The trio’s magic comes to life on the album’s lead single, “Talkin’ to You,” an instant earworm packed with tone-rich guitars, a staccato drum beat, and a hook-laden harmonies.
“It was our first foray into writing a real, 100% pop song,” says McFadden of the track. “I wanted it to be an anthem for anyone who has exceeded someone else’s expectations of them, your classic ‘look at me now’ theme. We wanted it to be something that the audience could easily identify with, even if they’d never heard the song before.”
The experiment worked, evidenced during live shows by the mutual energy exchange between the audience and the stage as crowds grab onto the catchy choruses and sing them back to the band in unison.
“Talkin’ to You” is just one of a dozen tracks from the forthcoming album that illustrate what Atwood Magazine called the band’s “energetic effervescence.” From the sing-song sweetness of “Let Me Go Easy” to the drum-driven defiance of “Island,” Animal Years is writing their story one delectable pop nugget at a time.
Recorded with producer Paul Moak at Nashville’s Smokestack in Nashville, This Is An Album Called Animal Years is slated for full release on June 18th.
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