- You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this copy of the band’s fourth American album
- This original Stereo pressing is rich and solid, and dramatically less harsh than most of the copies we played in our shootout
- “The Animals were not prolific or accomplished writers. But as interpreters, they were fearless in attack and astute in the dynamics of swing. Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen” becomes rent-party punk; “Don’t Bring Me Down,” a song of bittersweet dismay written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, is turned into a seesaw ride between the creeping evil of the organ paired with Valentine’s throaty fuzz in the verses and Burdon’s crucifixion cry in the chorus.”
Although this is far from an audiophile Demo Disc — what Animals album is? — you will have a very hard time finding a copy of the album that sounds as good and plays as quietly as this one does.
This vintage MGM pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What the best sides of Animalization have to offer is not hard to hear:
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1966
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
What We’re Listening For on Animalization
Less grit – smoother and sweeter sound, something that is not easy to come by on any Animals album.
A bigger presentation – more size, more space, more room for all the instruments and voices to occupy. The bigger the speakers you have to play this record the better.
More bass and tighter bass. This is fundamentally a pure rock record. It needs weight down low to rock the way the engineers wanted it to.
Present, breathy vocals. A veiled midrange is the rule, not the exception.
Good top end extension to reproduce the harmonics of the instruments and details of the recording including the studio ambience.
Last but not least, balance. All the elements from top to bottom should be heard in harmony with each other. Take our word for it, assuming you haven’t played a pile of these yourself, balance is not that easy to find.
Our best copies will have it though, of that there is no doubt.
Not only is it hard to find great copies of this album, it ain’t easy to play ’em either. You’re going to need a hi-res, super low distortion front end with careful adjustment of your arm in every area — VTA, tracking weight, azimuth and anti-skate — in order to play this album properly. If you’ve got the goods you’re gonna love the way this copy sounds. Play it with a budget cart / table / arm and you’re likely to hear a great deal less magic than we did.
Don’t Bring Me Down
One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show
You’re On My Mind
She’ll Return It
Inside Looking Out
See See Rider
Gin House Blues
What Am I Living For
Sweet Little Sixteen
I Put A Spell On You
Rolling Stone Review
The Animals were not prolific or accomplished writers. But as interpreters, they were fearless in attack and astute in the dynamics of swing. Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen” becomes rent-party punk; “Don’t Bring Me Down,” a song of bittersweet dismay written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, is turned into a seesaw ride between the creeping evil of the organ paired with Valentine’s throaty fuzz in the verses and Burdon’s crucifixion cry in the chorus. And for guys who had no firsthand experience of chain-gang life, the Animals’ reading of the prison lament “Inside Looking Out” is vividly brutal. Burdon wails like he’s being horsewhipped; Steel, Rowberry and bassist Chas Chandler throb underneath him with war-dance brawn; Valentine’s guitar is tense with neurotic treble. For those four minutes, the Animals never sounded more like real animals – vicious, hungry, desperate.