Home Read Albums Of The Week: Blinker The Star | Animal Math

Albums Of The Week: Blinker The Star | Animal Math

With the help of some MVP guests, the Canadian pop-rocker goes back to the ’80s — and gets in touch with his inner post-punk goth — on this darkly lush throwback.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Animal Math, Blinker The Star’s 12th album (and fifth since 2019) finds ringleader Jordon Zadorozny loosening the reins and unleashing his inner post-punk goth on an excitable, guitar-driven outing that crackles with dark immediacy and collaborative inspiration.

With the Joy Division-meets-Killing Joke-meets-Duran Duran joyride of opening track and video Like A Banshee leading the charge, the eight-song Animal Math pens a lush love letter to the dark sensuality of the ’80s. The sonic touchstones of the era are plentiful and unmistakable: Howling guitars and grinding basslines. Arpeggiated keyboards and soaring string synths. Gothy vibes and swirling sonics. Lushly layered vocals and lyrical references to banshees, druids, vampires, wolves and other creatures of the night.

Bottom line: These are songs that show up at your house at midnight sporting skin-tight black PVC trousers, a frilly white shirt and sunglasses. Songs that wear entirely too much mascara and eyeliner, and have their hair teased and sprayed into a massive rat’s nest. Songs that spend their nights swanning about amid the pulsing neon lights and dry-ice clouds of a secret basement bar that can only be reached via a rain-soaked alley in the tenderloin.

If you suspect it’s a new wrinkle in Zadorozny’s musical coat of many colours, give yourself a point. If you suspect he didn’t stitch it together alone, give yourself a bonus. “The thing that I’m enjoying the most these days is sort of creating a ‘band’ for each album, depending on the mood of the music and letting people have their way with my songs,” he says.

For Animal Math, that includes alt-rock couple Paul D’Amour (Tool, Ministry, Lusk) and Gilden Tunador (Figg), played crucial roles. Paul added spectral splashes of guitar, while Gilden bringing an ethereal presence to her vocal parts. Shiner and The Life and Times frontman Allen Epley also makes an appearance, co-writing and singing lead on Throwing Dice, a collaboration born out of working on a Vast Robot Armies album, and a hang session in Toronto after a Shiner gig. Other guests include John Fields on keyboards, guitars and percussion, Jarek Leskiewicz on guitars, synths and effects, Dave Merritt on backing vocals and guitar, Isaac Castillo on guitar, and backing vocals from Bob Wilcox, Stella Panacci and Lexi Stern.

Produced, engineered and mixed as always by Zadorozny at his Skylark Park studio in Pembroke, Ont., the album displays a looser, “let’s go with the first take” vibe. That ethos led to some of the more sprawling, guitar-centred moments on the record, says Zadorozny. Case in point: Closing track Sweet Teeth was composed entirely of improvised first takes on a variety of instruments until a complete song structure fell into place.

“This album represents a more gut-oriented, less predetermined approach to record making. I’m feeling like going even a bit further in this direction on the next album.” Which is already in progress, of course.”