Public Animal – “Habitat Animal” (Elektrohasch Records 2015, CD)

Public Animal are the Canadian quartet of Caitlin Dacey on keyboards and vocals, Erick Larock on bass, Ian Blurton on guitar and vocals, and Ryan Gassi on drums, plus Michael Blurton contributing spoken word. Habitat Animal is their debut album.

The set opens with drones, weird spaced out looped effects and spoken word narrative. Then a heavy Hammond organ, electronic oscillation and guitar solo kick in before the entire band launch into a total 70s inspired brand of ass kickin’ Hard Rock, which pretty neatly characterizes what Public Animal are about. These guys are tight as a knot with a guitar and Hammond attack that’s like a first round knockout mule kick to the head. The songs are mostly in the 3-6 minute range, and, though tightly structured, this is monster Rock ‘n’ Roll which moves and grooves and leaves plenty of room for instrumental breaks and solo fills.

The promo sheet says For fans of Deep Purple / Led Zeppelin / Black Sabbath. Surely Deep Purple and other heavy organ/guitar bands like Uriah Heep that are Prog edged Hard Rock ‘n’ Roll. But there’s often a Sabbathy stoner edge as well. I like how both Dacey and Blurton commonly sing, the effect being not so much a male/female harmony as it is a dual contribution to the shit kickin’ sum total.

Public Animal can accomplish a lot in a mere 3 minutes, as evidenced on songs like Careful, which consists of sonic attack steamroller Hard Rock played at a frantic pace and includes a head spinning array of compositional twists and turns. Ditto for the rapid fire Tinted Windows which gets a bit into space with some cool effects. Process Of Progress is a wee bit different, starting off with a lighter acoustic touch before rocking out and includes some more overtly Prog styled keys and some spaced out effects. Distant Shores is slower and more Psychedelically stoned, but less like Sabbath and more like an anthem… there’s always a sense of on-yer-feet Rock ‘n’ Roll throughout this album. And at 7 minutes the band stretch out a bit more with some ripping instrumental breaks. Wicked Ways is another longer song, and being the closing track took me completely by surprise, spending the first half in an exploratory Space-Prog drift before launching into a trademark Public Animal heavy rocking blast that at times retains the spacey theme in the form of swirling organ and trippy but lacerating guitar licks.

In summary, this album grabbed and throttled me on the first spin. Elektrohasch is great at finding bands like this. Take the very best of 70s Hard Rock and match it with top notch musicians who are committed to kick your ass but with careful attention to composition and execution and that’s what you get with Public Animal. Very cool.

For further information visit the Electrohasch Records web site at:
Habitat Animal is the band’s debut full length but they’ve got a bunch of other songs available at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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