Raise Your Expectations by Animotion (Invisible Hands Music)
“Los Angeles has produced worse things than Animotion. Smog. The Diamond Lane. The ’83 Dodgers. And The Hillside Strangler.” Spoken Interlude at the bridge of Bad Review – one of the many amazing songs on Raise Your Expectations by the one and only Animotion!
Animotion, the iconic new wave band who unveiled the notorious Obsession single back in the 80’s, has returned with Raise Your Expectations, their first studio album in over 27 years! Newly reformed, with the line-up including both original front-people, Bill Wadhams and Astrid Plane, Animotion crashes into the New Year with 10 stunning new songs as well an updated version of their hit single Let Him Go. The band has already been back on the road for a few years, playing festivals such as Lost 80’s in Long Beach as well as touring with the likes of Wang Chung, A Flock of Seagulls, Berlin, and ABC. So what exactly does Animotion sound like in the year of 2017? Pretty much like they did back in their heyday, and then some! Raise Your Expectations is definitely well worth the wait, containing a good amount of tunes that would fit in well with the classic Animotion repertoire.
The album opens with the dazzling electronic refrains of Last Time, seething with all of the lyrical passion and luxurious beats that Animotion is so well known for. With its “the last time you fell apart, I was right beside you” romanticism in the forefront, Last Time is perfect as the leadoff single for this brand spanking new album. Bill Wadhams vocals on this and the other cuts remind the listener of The Human League and Bryan Ferry in their finest hour, while nevertheless possessing a unique personality that shimmers throughout.
The pulsating beats and wicked harmonics then ensue tenfold with the superbly catchy Not Your Love, featuring both vocalists performing with a ton of emotion and verve. They Can’t Touch You is a tender ballad that show another side to the modern day Animotion experience. One definitive, ferociously ironic highlight is Bad Review, with its seething new wave soundscapes and witty vocals sending this one into the stratosphere. And speaking of being in sonic orbit, Everything is a striking ballad that lifts the listener into a whole other dimension – and it’s absolutely thrilling to behold.
The title cut Raise Your Expectation has a playful dance beat and autobiographical lyrics with brilliant sonnets such as “life is what happens to you while making other plans that don’t come through.” Love You Better could be the sequel the classic Obsession, featuring comic observations on dating and relationships that many will be able to ardently relate with. What other song would ask “What are you wearing?” so totally subversively? Trust Me then features industrial style rhythms and an aggressively epic vocal by Astrid Plane. The heavy duty dance beats then arrive with You Love It, which is guaranteed to get the listener in touch with their wild and wonderful “primitive side.” And the final new song on Raise Your Expectations is Surrender, featuring a warm and sensual rendering by Astrid Plane. Closing out the album is a remake of Let Him Go, done up 2016 style, sending off the album on an ultramodern house style note.
Raise Your Expectations was skillfully produced by Rod Stewart’s musical director Chuck Kentis and features artwork from Jay Vigon who was responsible not only for the band’s original logo but also created work for clients as diverse as George Lucas, Tom Petty and most notable, the logo for the Prince movie “Purple Rain.” Each and every song sounds like a radio hit in this or any age where timeless music reigns supreme. Here’s hoping the fans won’t have to wait another 27 years to hear future endeavors from Animotion, because in 2017, it looks like the band has achieved nothing short of a creative renaissance with Raise Your Expectations. This album is destined to be the auditory obsession of many a music fanatic!
(Review by Ken Morton)
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