Posts Tagged ‘Cannibal Animal’

Christopher Nosnibor

The last time the once-ubiquitous Blacklisters graced us with their presence in Leeds was back in 2017. A lot has happened since then, including some substantial geographical ones for the bandmembers. In fact, there was a time when it seemed as if the band was no more: following the release of Adult in 2015, things went quiet, bar the unexpected release of the Dart EP in 2017 via Too Pure. The arrival of Fantastic Man in 2020 came as a surprise. A welcome one, but a surprise nevertheless. Consequently, tonight’s double-header with associated / offshoot ace USA Nails is a cause for excitement: their fifth album, Character Stop, released just last month is a truly outstanding example of the angular / mathy / noise genre. And what a lineup!

In a late change to the advertised schedule, Care Home’s debut is shelved, with the band replaced by Hull noisemakers Cannibal Animal. Sound-wise, they’ve changed a bit from when I last saw them back in 2018 – less swamp-gothy, more post punk in their leanings, less claustrophobic and with more breathing space in the songs. Yet for all that, it’s very clearly the same band.

Cannibal Animal

Cannibal Animal

The set lands with a throbbing drone before they power into some hefty chords. They’re not pretty, sonically or visually, but Christ, they kick ass. Strolling basslines and wandering spacious guitars shifting into ball-busting riffs. Busting bad moves throughout Luke Ellerington makes for a compelling and charismatic performer as he leads the band through a set that sounds like a collision between Pissed Jeans and The Fall.

The guy from BELK seems to have got his dates wrong and has come dressed for Hallowe’en – or at least made-up for Hallowe’en. The Leeds act are a screamy thrashy guitar and drum duo. They’re as heavy and fuck and there’s a mental moshpit from the off. Shifting pace and dynamics nonstop, it’s primitive and brutal with full on frenzied riffery and screaming vocals. Everything about their sound is abrasive, jarring, angular, although at times it’s a shade thin, and they possibly would benefit from some bass.



USA Nails don’t only benefit from some bass, but place the bass at front and centre to powerful effect. And that bass has that ribcage-rattling tearing cardboard sound reminiscent of Bob Weston. The emphasis may be on attack and hard volume, but they fully exploit the dynamics of these. The two guitars are often still for the verses bar feedback, bursting into life for the choruses. Along the way there are some expansive bass-led spoken word stretches that call to mind The Fall, with frequent forays into hardcore punk. It’s a strong set that flips between sub-two minutes and longer workouts, and it’s all killer.

Nails 2Nails 3

USA Nails

With the last train to York departing at 23:13 and Blacklisters not due on until 11pm, I was presented with the option of disappointment or sleeping on a bench. I gather that they were good, though, and just hope we don’t have to wait another four years.

Sometimes, I just need a night off. And what better way to unwind than going to see a trio of noisy bands? It may be something of a busman’s holiday for a music critic, but a night-off gig means there’s no obligation to produce a review. Which means I can drink all the beer and not care about making notes, about remembering anything other than the atmosphere, the overall experience of whether the bands and the night were any good. Right? Only, I’ve gone and done it anyway. For posterity. Out of habit. And because it’s shows like this that provide the best entertainment, but rarely get the coverage -or attendance – they deserve.

Granted, it’s baking hot and it’s Wednesday night after the universities have split for summer. But it’s free entry, dammit! And the lineup features bands who’ve travelled from Hull! And bloody good bands at that!

Admittedly, I’m here for Cannibal Animal, a band who’ve consistently impressed, both live and recorded: their latest EP is an absolute banger.

Night Owls arrive with squalling feedback and noodling synths, with driving drumming and some melodic hooks. There’s much to like about their brand of sinewy, synthy, post-punk… and beyond ‘I am for real’ their singer hollers ad infinitum during their second song, and nothing in their edgy, angular set gives reason to doubt, although their style is so wide-ranging I do find myself wondering exactly how to position them. But then, it’s not about pigeonholing, but quality of material and performance. And these guys are good on both fronts.

Night Owls

Night Owls

Cannibal Animal’s latest offering marks a significant shift toward the more psych-influenced end of the post-punk spectrum, evoking the sort of surf-goth of obscuritants like The Volcanoes more than the overt rockabilly of, say The Cramps. ‘Ellipsisism’, the lead single from their snarling ‘A Decline in Morality’, which also reminds me of the mega-obscure ‘Genetic Disruption’ EP by Murder the Disturbed (released on Small Wonder, the same label which would release Bauhaus’ seminal ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ 12” in the same year) EP is a clear standout, although it’s the EP’s closer ‘Ripe’ that’s lodged in my head on the train home.

The brittle, flanged, chorus-soaked guitars of the studio renderings are cranked up to the pain threshold and into a thick mess of distortion and shrieking treble, resulting in a set that slams from beginning to end like a sonic battering ram. It’s no criticism to observe that Luke Ellerington isn’t your conventionally appealing front man, but he’s charismatic and compelling and his presence is huge. It’s tense, loud, and thrilling, and I could go home happy after their set.

Cannibal 1Cannibal 2

Cannibal Animal

But then there’s Lumer, who’ve also made their way from Hull. Theirs is a set of angsty, aggressive post-punk with pummelling tom-driven drumming that’s tense and expansive.

I’ve had a few pints by now, since I’m not planning to review the show, and spend some time marvelling at their keyboardist’s dubious moustache and the fact the singer bears a passing resemblance to a young Kirk Brandon.



The one thing about gig drinking is that there’s always someone way drunker than you, and while I’m conscious of gaps in my notes, I’m more conscious of the fact there’s a really drunk guy who keeps falling over while moshing loosely. People keep picking him up and throwing him back upright, before he lurches toward the stage. But he’s happy and they’re cool with it, and as outstanding as the music, it’s the community spirit. It’s truly uplifting and a joy to witness.

I’m also conscious that the volume is so intense that the sound is mushy, especially standing as close to the speakers as I am… and it doesn’t matter. The energy that crackles from the band, and which is bounced back by the audience is immense.

If you want clean sound, stay home. If you want to get out of your skin, cut loose and live, go and watch live bands in small venues.

I need to take more nights off.

Warren Records – 16th March 2018

Christopher Nosnibor

We think we may have mentioned Cannibal Animal once or twice before here on Aural Aggro – and there’s a very good reason for this: the Hull band make a dark, dense, swampy post-punk racket that owes as much to The Cramps and The Volcanoes as anyone else, on account of the serpentine lead guitars and reverb-soaked surf sound. With a thunderous rhythm section, it’s more like surfing a tsunami than coasting on the crest of a wave, mind. Throw in a dollop of early 90s underground noise – think in particular early Therapy? And you’ve got the measure. Their latest offering, ‘A Decline in Morality’ is a belter. As if lead single ‘Ellipsisism’ didn’t already demonstrate it already.

The band explain that ‘Lyrically these songs are about the moral compass of specific fictional characters’, with ‘Lack of Skin’ turning focus to ‘the candle burning nymphomaniac’. If ever a track distilled a potent blend of tripwire tension and a loose, near-tribal groove, it’s this one, with bone-rattling beats and a fat, fuzzy bass driving a fury of guitar bathed in cavernous echo. The effect is one of terrifying entrapment, but edged with a twist of sleaze.

The desperation and anxiety that drives the band’s work has hit critical mass here: it’s less about sonic density and thick, overdriven guitars, and more about scorching, wild-eyed mania. And I can’t recall the last time I heard a conventional fade-out…


Cannibal Animal -Decline

Let’s skip the preamble: we fucking love Cannibal Animal. Their latest effort, ‘Ellipsisism’, released on 16th March through Warren Records is a snaking goth-tinged swamp-surf garage rattler that calls to mind the spirit of the late 70s and early 80s with haunting, echo-drenched guitars and frenzied vocals. But we don’t need to talk it up. Just listen to this:



Cannibal Animal

The Fulford Arms, York, 6th April 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

The saying goes that variety is the spice of life. If it’s true, York-based promoters Behind the White Door managed to dished up a musical phaal at this free / donations midweek showcase of the weird and the wonderful, and it was gratifying to see such a decent turnout.

Local stalwarts Percy, who’ve been going forever and will probably still be going another eternity into the future warmed things up with their reliable punky pub rock. Not everyone would agree, but there’s something appealing about a bunch of disenfranchised middle-aged men wearing shirts and ties – like they’ve just walked from the office to play – cranking out four-chord riffs over which they grouse and sneer with distinctly fall-like overtones about shit jobs and equally shit relationships, neither of which they’ve the energy or inclination to get out of.

What swayed me to turn out tonight was a video by tonight’s second band, Hull-based Cannibal Animal. They didn’t disappoint. Throwing elements of early Therapy? together with bits of more obscure 90s noisy shit like Jacob’s Mouse, Headcleaner and Fudge Tunnel, into an industrial blender with a dollop of Godflesh, they crank out a fierce, feral racket that’s defined by a powerhouse rhythm section. The drummer’s ace and the bassist is something else. It’s all about the snarling, churning, springy, remarkably detailed but relentlessly driving basslines. As a nit, they’re as tight as they are angry, and man, they’re angry. But for all that, the vocals are drenched in reverb and at times have an almost psychedelic hue. Band of the night by a mile, it’s no hyperbole to say that they’re also my favourite new band.

Cannibal Animal

Cannibal Animal

They’re a hard act to follow, but Sweet Deals on Surgery – having travelled from Manchester for tonight’s show – do themselves ample justice. The first song of their set is called ‘Elvis Costello is a Wanker’. Whether you agree or not isn’t the point: it’s a great tune that grabs the audience’s attention, and for that, respect is due. They’re hard to place, musically. Vintage indie (as in vintage indie in the key of The Smiths), collides with contemporary indie (think the complexities of Everything Everything), but with a strong noisy / classic rock element (if melding AC/DC riffage with a dash of Golden Earring and Cheap Trick sounds like a bad ideas, it is, at least on paper, but these guys actually pull it off. (How, I’m really not sure, and no, the Theakston’s Old Peculier hadn’t taken effect at this point, and I switched to Oakham Citra at a more modest 4.2%. A more thirst-quenching beer was required to counter the rising temperature in the small, low-ceilinged pub venue)). They’re whacky, alright. And the between-song banter is gold at times.

Sweet Deals on SurgerySweet Deals on Surgery 2

Sweet Deals on Surgery

The headliners don’t actually have a name as yet, and ask the audience for suggestions. They’re celebrated York band The Littlemores reinvented and rebranded, and while their previous incarnation made a decent job of presenting ska-infused indie tunes which took cues from the Arctic Monkeys in their kitchen sink lyrical leanings, they clearly feel it’s time to move on. By way of references, my initial thought was Oasis – only infinitely better: I’m referring to the big wall of guitars rather than the songs, which are a long way from the turgid plod of the 90s reinventors of pub-rock for stadium consumption. However, I’ve been reliably steered in the direction of The Cribs, and it’s definitely a fair comparison. They’ve got a keen pop sensibility, strong harmony-led melodies, and a layered guitar sound. It’s their debut gig, and they’ve barely got 30 minutes of material, but it’s not only solid, but already rehearsed to perfection. Whether or not it’s your bag, they’re a quality act with huge commercial potential.

No More Littles

No More Littles.. or whoever they may be by the time this is published or you read this

In a world increasingly dominated by sameness and homogeneity disguised as consumer choice, and driven by profit, the fact that it’s possible to discover four high-calibre but completely disparate acts at a decent beer venue and pay nothing for the pleasure (if you’re a miserly skinflint) is something in itself. But the atmosphere – that intangible thing that can make or ruin a gig – lifts the evening to another level. Small gigs can be every bit as special as big ones, and for Cannibal Animal alone, this one was extra special.