Written by Matt Salter
We caught Ceramic Animal‘s March 18th show at the Radio Day Stage in Austin, TX with open minds and no expectations. Ceramic Animal has been on the scene a while, and we’ve heard a decent amount of their work here and there, but this would be the first chance I’ve had the chance to give them the undivided attention they deserved.
On cueing up the VOD, we had some early concerns. Up against a hard timeslot – of every hour on the clock, 2:30 pm might be the least inclined to party. Ceramic Animal didn’t grab us, to begin with, just mid-tempo nod-along with not much low end, a little bit of twang, and some lyrics about heartbreak. Nothing wrong with any of those elements as such, but Austin’s leading export is slim young men with guitars and relationship issues. We’d heard this before.
Then, the first track from the new album dropped. “Sweet Unknown” is a quantum leap for Ceramic Animal. The Pennsylvania outfit dug into their roots and came out with gold: they had Bakersfield melodies playing nice with lyrics like early Elvis Costello, then transitioned into fuzzy keyboard-driven swamp stomp. Every track was different and everything worked. The ballads in particular hit sweet and had the crowd handled, no small achievement in Willie’s town.
In short, Ceramic Animal shone. “Sweet Unknown” dropped on March 4, and, while we don’t have a review copy yet, we’re hoping for a knockout. Ceramic Animal still has respect for where they came from, but they’ve leveled up their chops and added a whole new bag of tricks. An extended jam at the end summed up the whole show: give these boys room to work and they could be one of the best indie bands in the business.
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