Home Read Area Resident’s Classic Album Review: The Animals | The Twain Shall Meet

Area Resident’s Classic Album Review: The Animals | The Twain Shall Meet

This awkward, contrived 1968 offering is enough to put you off of Eric Burdon.

I picked up a copy of The Animals’ 1968 album The Twain Shall Meet the other day. I guess, technically it’s Eric Burdon & The Animals, and is the second album by that version of the band. I’ll not mince words: It’s awful.

The reason I decided to drop $2 on the vinyl is thanks to Lou Barlow’s influence on my teenage ears. He cut bits of Sky Pilot into a Sebadoh/Sentridoh song years ago. So it’s a bit of an earworm for me. Sky Pilot‘s one of two singles on this album — an awful, awful anti-Vietnam song. It even starts with a stupid spoken-word bit and then a chorus the band can barely sing.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Burdon. I have both the albums he did with War as well as two by the Eric Burdon Band. But on this record he’s mailing it in as a vocalist and trying to be a picture-painting social poet. I can’t honestly make this judgment, but I think he was too dumb to try his hand at this. He seems in over his head. At the very least, it’s not his strength.

God, it’s awful — awkward, contrived, pretentious and poorly thought out. It reminds me of that Spinal Tap review: “They are treading water in a sea of retarded sexuality and bad poetry.” And speaking of Spinal Tap, the first song on the album — Monterey, an awkward tribute to the pop festival — has the same guitar solo tone as the one in (Listen To The) Flower People.

After Sky Pilot, that’s the other single, Monterey. Jesus, it’s such a stupid song. The only thing good about it is the bass player. First, Burdon described Hugh Maskela’s music as “black as night” and then says both The Who and Jimi Hendrix resulted in fire. I mean, I know they did, but find another word other than using “fire” twice. Gawd sake.

There’s a whole slew of these ’60s rock bands who tried their hand at psychedelic albums — The Who Sell Out, Their Satanic Majesty’s Request, Sgt. Pepper, I guess — hell, even Chubby Checker had a psychedelic album. I have it — it’s good. This is not. Not one bit. Goddamn, one song — the seven-minute-plus album closer All Is One” has both bagpipes and sitar. Come on.

“We’re all one
Your neighbour is is your brother
The Sun is your son
We’re all one
They’re all one
Everything is one
The wind, the rain, the sun
They’re all one
You will never die
Like the birds, just fly
I am part of you
You are all of me
We’re all all one
All one, yeah
All one, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Ah, ah, ah, ah,
Ah, ah, yeah, ah
Ah, ah, ah.”

The hell is that?

The singing on track two, Just The Thought, is so bad. It’s followed by a boogie/blues thing called Closer To The Truth, and it’s boring. So boring. Then the Flower People guitar comes back on the next song — with a goddamn harpsichord this time.

I should mention the album is produced by ’60s playboy Tom Wilson. The guy who did the clean-sounding songs on the first Velvet Underground record. On this one, he found all the “more is better” pretentious psychedelia presets. Like when you sit down at the old organ in your aunt’s living room — the one with the dead plant on it — and flip every toggle. Flute, oboe, voice, marimba. Tom got every light going, and not in a David Bowie Raw Power way. More of a dipped-a-corn-dog-in-honey kind of way.

There’s not one good song on this thing. It’s worse than Seals & CroftsDiamond Girl album. Worse than Velvet Gloves and Spit by Neil Diamond. It’s enough to put you off Burdon for a while, and that’s the biggest shame.




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Area Resident is an Ottawa-based journalist, recording artist, music collector and re-seller. Hear (and buy) his music on Bandcamp, email him HERE, follow him on Instagram and check him out on Discogs.