Animal Games
Gig Seeker Pro

Animal Games

Los Angeles, California, United States

Los Angeles, California, United States
Alternative Indie




"Live4ever Presents: Animal Games"

It seems to be increasingly rare to find a band that can permeate the sensory receptors with a deep and wholesome sound without ripping off the monsters of music gone by. We have been exposed to roughly six decades of genres breaking through and adapting mainstream and pop culture, so it is no wonder that most new music is comparable to something previous – some more closely than others.
But then every so often there is a band that slip through the filter who remain both strikingly nostalgic, but also refreshingly contemporary; Animal Games are a band who have struck the balance well.
Rising out of Los Angeles with the material they recorded independently throughout the empty rooms and garages of Glendale and Santa Fe Springs, the five-piece with an affinity for 1980s rock culture have been showcasing their material around California since they began in 2010. Beginning as a shared concept between guitarist Frank Tobias and bassist Juan Pablo Grado (surely a name for the stage) in 2007, the band gathered pace after picking up members Gerry Doot, Christian DeOliviera, Daniel Gonzalez and Chris Buxton-Smith on drums, percussion, keys and vocals. The set they developed together became most prominently reminiscent of The Cure and The Smiths amidst other tycoons of vibrant rock.
‘Neon Wild‘ is the band’s debut EP, and the five track offering fluctuates between the evidential traces of influence, whilst injecting a healthy dose of identity and presence to their hand-crafted brainchild. One of the more contemporary citations of Animal Games pertains to that of The Killers in the former days of their career, and the two final tracks on the EP make use of a call and answer chorus with the vocals relaying with tones of depth to a back wall of chanters. The keys and drums on ‘Lullaby‘, as well as the brass effects on ‘Cold Jacket‘ also bear the same pace and style as the glitzy Vegas rockers.
Other tracks on the EP include ‘Casual Touch‘, where the drums drive through on the ride with jangley guitars to cushion the Robert Smith-esque vocals. Oddly enough, if you could visualise ‘The Looking Glass‘ by the way it sounds, it would look like the pieces of a shattered mirror dropping through the air given the fragmented resonant effect used on the instruments, with the vocals akin to Pearl Jam. The title track seems to pertain more to the indie genre of the early Noughties musically but manages to steer away from a possible cliché.
Overall Animal Games have put themselves together a very well-to-do EP, which is also incredibly radio friendly. The main risk they run is to become too unvaried in the long run and after this it will be a matter of showing fans and listeners the next chapter – as this is only the first release from the band after all.
‘Neon Wild’ is available for download on their official website – which is far better to visit directly, as by typing their name into Google you will only meet children’s gaming sites; the backfire is on Animal Games for choosing a name of such implication.

-Joanne Ostrowski

Read more: - Live4ever

"Animal Games ‘Neon Wild’ EP Review"

New wave has been described as “pop music with the sardonic attitude and tense, aggressive energy of punk”, which could just as easily characterize Animal Games’ debut EP, Neon Wild. Tinged with Americana and an 80’s-like proclivity, the EP has garnered some serious buzz since its July 22nd release date. Why? Because music – like fashion, like art – is cyclic, and Animal Games is tapping into that truism with fervor.

There’s a lot to blush about when it comes to the music culture of the 80’s; shoulder pads, A Flock of Seagulls, that whole Milli Vanilli thing. But Animal Games unabashedly captures what’s best about the era; vocals that are less technical and more expressive and impulsive, crisp synthesizers and the birth of electronica.

Vocalist Chris Buxton-Smith channels the articulation of Talking Head’s David Byrne; august and affected, his colourful vocals frequently diverge into a crisp baritone, like in “Casual Touch” when the fluidity of his voice plays off the addictive riffs. “Neon Wild”, the title track, is radio-ready. The fresh, well-timed percussion has a universal modern appeal. Preview the whole EP at the Animal Games website here.

And yet Animal Games might not have the immediate effect and success with Neon Wild as with their energetic live shows. It’s clear that this band’s appeal heavily relies on performance, just as bands in the 80s counted on glam-rock aesthetics to bolster their act. The question here is whether their energy will translate effectively to a broader audience, as it so clearly has live. This fivesome doesn’t need parachute pants or laser beams – they have a strong initial impact and an impressive first EP, but will reach new heights when they develop a more distinguished sound and build on what we know and love about the new wave and post-punk genres. - Vivoscene


Still working on that hot first release.



The foundation of Animal Games began taking form in late 2007, when long-time friends Juan Pablo Grado and Frank Tobias agreed to create a new project after spending time writing and developing its sound. The two sought out to achieve a voice and brand that encompassed no rules and paid tribute to a plethora of influences and sounds; be it the raunchy rhythms of glorious punk bands or the beautiful yet sometimes comical melodies of ambassadors from the 80's, and everything in between.

??In the summer of 2010, vocalist Chris Buxton-Smith crossed paths with Animal Games. Smith, having left a scattered trail that passed through the likes of Mississippi and San Fransisco, gracefully articulates stories and are personal, universal, and classic. ??After three years and a few lineup changes, Animal Games became whole with the additions of Gerry Doot on drums, Christian DeOliveira on percussion and trombone, and Daniel Gonzalez on keys and guitar. They provide some of the band's signature color, rhythm, and style. ??Animal Games has played to crowds all over with an overwhelming response. They are a group that cohesively drives their songs, pumping out songs that represent the games that you and I play.