I had a friend, once upon a time, that would decide whether to buy records based on two factors. The first of which was pretty reasonable, in that it was whether he liked the cover art – nobody wants a bunch of ugly records, right? The second was a complex calculation of value for money based around number of tracks/album running time and offset against the album art – so the better the cover, the more likely he was to buy a record, unless it had few or very short tracks. He missed out on a LOT of great records and got stung by more than a few awful, awful albums with great sleeves. I don’t know if he still evaluates his purchases this way (you’d hope not!) but if he does, you can bet he’s cursing Retox.
You see, Ugly Animals lasts just 12:45 – he’d be swearing and shouting about being ‘ripped-off’ and would no doubt be on his way back to the record shop for a refund before most albums have even got half-way through. More fool him. I tried back then to impress on him that what counts is quality rather than quantity, and quality is something that Retox possess in spades. No, this isn’t the greatest-sounding collection of songs you’ll ever hear (the production is functional, at best) but what it sets out to do it MORE than achieves. Ugly Animals is a short, sharp blast of grindcore delivery wrapped in old-school hardcore riffing – picture Black Flag‘s nihilistic take on Minor Threat‘s rage and play it through Napalm Death‘s gear and you’ll be somewhere near the mark.
‘Ugly’ is a fair enough summary, but doesn’t really cover the addictive nature of this record – every song has at least one of ‘those’ moments that keeps you coming back. Nothing is ever allowed the time to really settle in and make a home for itself, which only further increases the desire to listen again in the hope that ‘that riff’ or ‘that vocal’ sticks around a little longer. Look – at under thirteen minutes long, it’s taken me FAR longer to tell you about it than it would for you to go and check it out for yourself on Youtube or wherever. Pay no mind to the fact that this costs the same as your hour-plus epics to buy – I’ve had far more out of this than many far longer albums over the last few months. Get it bought, get it in your ears, thank me later.