God Save the Animals is versatile and surprising

Lincoln Jones-Hartman, Centerspread Editor

3.5/5 Stars. 

Alex Gianniscoli, known as Alex G, is back with his ninth studio album, God Save the Animals, which is both experimental and a return to form. Gianniscoli employs his classic themes of Americana and his deeply personal storytelling as seen in the religious undertones of his lyrics. This is particularly apparent on tracks like “After All” and “S.D.O.S.” with lyrics such as “God is my designer/ Jesus is my lawyer/ Curled up in the shower/ High above the tower,” on “S.D.O.S.”, which hint at bible verses and baptisms.

Gianniscoli seems to be influenced by the songwriting and guitar tracks of folk music icons such as Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, as well as the vocal stylings of underground rap collective Drain Gang, using their whispery, ultra-autotuned whining vocals often in his less accessible tracks. This album is a beautiful blend of drastically different styles, though at times the blending is less than smooth.

The more experimental elements of this album shine through in tracks “No Bitterness”, “Blessing” and “Cross the Sea”, mixing his classic folksy indie rock lyrics with more hyperpop sensibilities. The beat in “No Bitterness” is bouncy and driving. He leans heavily into the autotune in “Cross the Sea,” with the entire vocal track feeling like a parody of modern pop rather than a genuine performance.

Many of his promotional photos for the album are also dripping in irony. The entire album is not particularly satirical, but it certainly seems to be incorporating elements of the pop which dominates our current musical milieu. 

In a true return to form, Gianniscoli seems to be telling a different story in each song, but he weaves them together under one true theme, discovery of faith and how this can both divide and unify a relationship. His Christian rock album was certainly an unforeseen release, though it’s relatively put-together and most tracks are solid 4 out of 5’s with a few weaker tracks.