Confining one’s writings to the idiosyncrasies and traits of one specific area of music is boring – and from the work presented on Shed the Skin, Laminate Pet Animal agrees. While many consider indie folk and electronica may be poles apart, both are pools from which this Leeds-based musician drinks from as influences such as Gold Panda and Bon Iver (which are both obvious on opening track “Once“) are incredibly prevalent and are used in an incredibly effective way.
Throughout his life, Laminate Pet Animal has made marked diversions on his journey through music. Since learning classical guitar, he’s absorbed song-writing styles of Jose Gonzalez and Justin Vernon and he’s applied them to the expansive possibilities available from the electronic work of Gold Panda and Tycho. This, in short, forms an ensconcing concoction. Clear aspects of Bon Iver’s extensive, layered vocals and instrumentation are found on “This is Goodbye“, the second track from Shed the Skin, as Animal manages to build around a repetitive riff and vocal part that compiles upon itself until the inevitable climax is met.
This, when coupled with the aforementioned “Once” forms an incredibly potent one-two punch that, as vocal electronic music goes, is imaginative to the point of inducing true engrossment.
The fact that each track on Shed the Skin emphasises a specific influence allows for this EP to truly embody it’s name; as layer upon layer is revealed. Due to this aspect, no two tracks are immediately alike, but they flow as any good music does and this allows for a truly pleasurable experience. This is shown by tracks three and four of the EP as “Because of You” is formed of rumbling bass and “Cigarette Burns” is much more of a Tycho-esque composition formed using an acoustic guitar riff and a much lighter layering of parts.
Sometimes, the more unknown an artist is to the masses, the more pleasant the surprise is. With Laminate Pet Animal, this is very true as Shed the Skin is a nigh-impeccable EP that is formed of the best of many genres of music. The gift/curse of living in 2015 is that pretty much anyone can make music in a combination of home and studios and while this does lead to an inordinate amount of bad music circulating online, there’s also a much denser layer of truly brilliant music that gives hope to this reviewer. Laminate Pet Animal definitely fits into this latter category.
Originally written by me for Forty5