For their new album, The Ocean And The Sun, the Sound of Animals Fighting has clearly studied the prerequisite gimmicks for any prog-rock album; the bizarre intro track; long, inscrutable titles similar to those from Of Montreal; a majority of songs that are either under two minutes or over six; and, of course, tons of wailing guitar noise. The Ocean And The Sun sees the band in its most economic outfit yet, with only five members contributing to the recording, but that doesn’t mean they are willing to skimp on energy or power; the band’s characteristic barrage of interwoven sounds is the first thing to hit listeners the instant they press play.
The band’s self-professed goal is to draw listeners’ attention to the musical experience, rather than to the artists themselves, and listeners are mostly rewarded in their effort. This esoteric approach is undeniably alienating on first contact—but then again, this is probably intentional. While the band frequently veers into senselessness, it is always tempered by a feeling that there is a perimeter to their madness, which the band explores and pushes, but never strays beyond. However, the affected anonymity of the album does infect a few tracks with a feeling of scattered indifference. The Ocean And The Sun is the product of a band whose sound is still maturing, but behind its pomp and bluster lurks a nuanced, affecting commentary on human society, making this a worthy addition to the band’s oeuvre.