The reason I picked this out of the box of records at ‘Cake HQ was the note accompanying it that, among other things, said, “Total late-era Black Flag style hardcore.” I enjoy latter day Black Flag, almost to the point of being an apologist. (For the record, I prefer In My Head to The First Four Years—not that I dislike The First Four. Still, I’d take Damaged over either of them, especially if “T.V. Party” wasn’t on it.) That aside, I must say that, while Rational Animals do make definite nods to late-era Black Flag, they don’t encapsulate that sound and feeling. First, RA are too fast and too hard to get that comparison from me, though, like I said, they do make definite nods here and there. Second, RA seem more like they’re entering into psychosis. BF seemed like they were past the psychotic breakdown, like they were full-blown menacing, maniacal lunatics at that point. RA’s songs, lyrically, deal with anxiety and how to interpret the world around them. Later BF never came across that linear to me. They were always beyond insanity, like a bunch of turd-juggling weirdos. So, while I find the comparison to be faulty, I don’t find that these kids (who are just out of high school) are bad at their craft—far from it, actually. If I were to compare them to BF, I would say that this is what you might have hoped for BF to become. That is if you were dissatisfied with latter day BF, which I am not.
–Vincent (Feral Kid, [email protected])