Though the disc isn't too far from the deathlike electronic dissonance that Wolf Eyes devised on their Sub Pop debut, Burned Mind (2004), Human Animal flows like two meaty chapters — making it seem like "more of a conversational piece," as Olson describes it.
The band's decision to substitute Hair Police's Connelly for the departed Dilloway does Wolf Eyes justice as well, giving them a seasoned feel. Past recordings such as Burned Mind tended to blow up and then taper off into omnidirectional soundscapes — Human Animal’s tracks are more reserved in mood and command. Though past albums such as Slicer (Hanson, 2002), with its crackling fissures, and Dread (Bulb, 2001), with its sonic assaults, are distinctive in their own right, the unpleasant soundscapes of Human Animal actually sound like real songs, a feat the band had yet to accomplish.
The album's first three numbers embody a creepy ambience that prepares the listener for the recording's interior turbulence. The pieces become more galvanic as the album chugs along, whether through popcorn-inflected drum frenzies ("Rusted Mange"), bestial snorts and drones ("Leper War"), or the band's punishing take of No Fucker's "Noise Not Music." "It doesn't sound much different from the original," says Olson with a laugh. "But we totally massacred the lyrics."
Given the grinding assault that the song exhibits on Human Animal, it'll be fun to hear it magnified, in addition to the rest of the album, live.
To Olson, the pieces are so simple that it's easy to flesh them out and switch up the tone — it just comes down to maintaining a catalytic framework from which to improvise. In that sense, he explains, "Wolf Eyes is not too far from a traditional jazz band." SFBG
Nov. 11, 9:30 p.m.
Bottom of the Hill
1233 17th St., SF