Animal Names Ballet Bones

Led by Chris vanderLaan, a former member of Calgary melodic punk band the Buzzing Bees, Vancouver-based quartet Animal Names feature the sort of melodic but melancholy harmonies and mid-tempo, guitar-based rock songs that can only come from kids raised on Braid or the Get Up Kids. But, as demonstrated on their debut album, Ballet Bones, that’s far from a bad thing. Opener "Something and the Infinite Gladness” builds a slow navel gazer from vanderLaan’s matter-of-fact singing and playful guitar. Elsewhere, as on "Grinder Deluxxx,” the album kicks up the pace for some summery sing-alongs. "Plastic Castles,” the album’s centrepiece ballad, is a quiet acoustic track in the vein of Kind of Like Spitting. If you grew up with all-ages shows and early Smallman Records, you’ll find Animal Names’ fantastic debut especially exciting. (Citystarfleet)