Mike Wilson aka All These Animals is a man bewitched. With a gravelly voice that you know means every word he sings, the EP I Drew a Ghost was recorded in various studios, rehearsal rooms and bedrooms, and the variation in quality does nothing to detract from the purity of the sound.
All These Animals started in 2012 as a trio, touring Europe. With the other two having disappeared from the scene, Mike Wilson is flying the flag all alone, but one can’t help knowing that he was the motor in the band – the music fits the character: unflinching, angry, questing, looking for peace but failing to find it, at least here.
The sharing-a-twisted-secret intimacy of the half-sung, half-spoken vocals
From the repeating line “I’ll wait for you there” that implies both a lostness and a resilience on the song which is suitably titled Martyr, to the sharing-a-twisted-secret intimacy of the half-sung, half-spoken vocals on closing track Adieu, Mike Wilson’s songs speak eloquently of fighting and losing but never backing down.
The second song is instrumental – drums played drunkenly in a submarine with distorted feedback that sounds like the fish on an acid trip through the windows. Dislocation, disturbance.
Combining acoustic songwriting sensibilities with ambient/aggressive undertones, Wilson cites influences on the recorded songs as noise-driven folk rock, 90s alternative music, Bukowski and eclectic electronica and his list of influences give one a pretty clear picture of the EP.
I look forward to seeing All These Animals live. I can’t help thinking that Mike Wilson would be an arresting performer, if half of the intensity that comes through here transforms into his live act.
Noel Maurice is one of the founders of indieberlin. Originally from the UK via a childhood in Johannesburg, he has been resident in Berlin since 1991. Describing himself as a ‘recovering musician’, he is the author of The Berlin Diaires, a trilogy detailing the East Berlin art and squat scene of the early 90s, available on Amazon and through this site.