CD Review: Lindsay Mac “Animal Again”

Lindsay Mac is a classically-trained cellist. After her training on that instrument, she took that ability and started creating her own music. And while it would have logical to imagine Mac creating albums based in classical music, she went in a different direction. The music Mac created was folk-rock based. With that folk-rock sound, Mac created a library of two releases that included 2008’s Stop Thinking. On that album, Lindsay Mac created such tracks as “Barbies & Broncos” that featured a very rocking musical approach while still incorporating a little of the folk flavor that she was known for. On the track, Mac’s cello added a lot of texture to the energy of the music. The album also contained a more laidback musical approach as Mac covered the Beatles tune “Blackbird” which featured more folk flavor to the music than the original version. While going from the rocking sound of “Barbies & Broncos” to the more folk-like “Blackbird,” other styles are also included on the release and Stop Thinking ended up being a very eclectic release.
That was back in 2008. Since then, Lindsay Mac had not put out an album. In-between that album and today, Lindsay Mac has been incorporating a new style into her sound; that sound falls into the category of Electronic Dance Music. To help bring the EDM sound to life, Mac called upon fellow Berklee College of Music grad J Declan. Together, the two musicians created Mac’s newest release entitled Animal Again.

Lindsay Mac’s Animal Again begins with the title track. “Animal Again” features the EDM style that Mac has recently incorporated into her music. The song features a strong dance beat along with a strong bass line. The music that surrounds the drum and bass has a simplistic beauty to it. All of the elements in the music come together to create the perfect track for Mac to sing to; and Lindsay Mac seems to have the perfect voice to be the focal point on an EDM track. “Animal Again” sounds like it would easily fit alongside names like Robbie Rivera and others who call dance record labels like Ultra Records home.

Animal Again continues with the song “Remember”. The track begins with a beautiful melody that then is joined by a driving beat that keeps the pace of the song going strong. The lyrics to the track about thinking back to a night when a relationship began are very universal and will have the listener agreeing with the sentiment. The strong EDM feel to the track easily makes the song one of the strongest tracks on the release. As it is one of the best tracks on the release, one listen to the track will have you wanting repeated listening which is just what you want for the first single from the release.

The Animal Again release seems to be split between two different musical approaches. While each of the four track falls into the same general electronic music genre, the first tracks of the release are EDM while the second two tracks are actually synth-pop. The first of the two songs in the second half of the release is called “Back to Right”.

On the song “Back to Right,” the pace of the music slows down and the track takes on a more snyth-pop feel. With the slower pace, the focus seems to be more on the actual music and less on the energy of the music. The song features lyrics about trying to make a romance work. The listener experiences the emotional pull of the lyrics as Lindsay Mac sings with a great deal of feeling. While the first two tracks on the Animal Again EP have enough appeal for the dancehall, “Back to Right” feels very radio-friendly and would easily fit on any Top 40 radio format.

Animal Again comes to a close with the track “Wolf”. The song is the perfect track to finish the newest release from Lindsay Mac as it ties the first half and second half of the EP together. “Wolf” features the lighter musical approach that is evident on “Back to Right” while bringing back just a little of the animal concept from “Animal Again”. The song unifies all of the songs together nicely and makes the release feel solid.

While the new sound from Lindsay Mac is miles away from the cello-based folk-rock that she had been previously known for, the new EDM-based pop music she is currently creating is very strong. The songs on Animal Again are just as well-written as anything from Mac’s previous releases and the production value on the 2015 EP is solid. Animal Again is a solid first release in this musical vein for Lindsay Mac and more of the same is definitely welcomed.

To hear the new sound of Lindsay Mac, check out the video to “Remember“. Also check out the live version of the older track “Barbies & Broncos“.