Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Alex G's smouldering heart shines on God Save The Animals

"God Save The Animals"

Release date: 23 September 2022
Alex G - God Save The Animals cover
20 September 2022, 00:00 Written by Kyle Kohner

Alex G's God Save The Animals, like any of his efforts, will find people when they need it the most.

For those who've drawn close to the trollish teenaged image that’s defined Alex G for over a decade, get used to a more contemplative version of this baby-faced, pants-pissing legend. The Philadelphia DIY hero is maturing and has reached that point in an artist's career where sobering self-reflection and willingness to surrender to new ideas, like faith, have become the catalyst of creation. But by no means does his latest, God Save The Animals, paint him as a wise, finished product. He has many questions to ask, demons to reconcile, and they're beared for listeners to find solace and belief in something better and beyond.

More than ever, faith is on Alex G's mind, as merely evidenced by the album's namesake and track titles such as "Forgive" and "Blessing". On a deeper level, however, it's become a direct point of meditation rather than a mere backdrop to his uniquely unvarnished Americana sound and aesthetic. His music has long been spiritual in sound, but the artist has now inspired it with the explicit words needed to resonate deeper with crestfallen listeners.

A line like "I have fears that I have not addressed...Some things from my past make me feel powerless," is so typically yet beautifully Alex G. However, hearing him immediately follow this admission on "Miracles'' with "Well Baby, I pray for the children and the sinners and the animals too, and I pray for you" is an endearing reveal of character and a comparable breath of fresh air to the tongue-in-cheek messaging he usually encrypts his songs with. But while this Christianese speak permeates the record's shapeshifting entirety, not once does it feel like Philly's beloved psuhes a particular belief down listeners’ throats

In fact, Alex G's exploration of faith supersedes any specific religious doctrine. Some will half-seriously deem God Save The Animals as his Christian Rock album, but alas, this isn't worship music in a traditional sense. His ninth record is universal worship music that plucks at the connective tissue binding every human heart – the natural tendency to believe in something when all else fails.

Ripe with characters in desperation, many of this project's faceless faces default to faith of any kind and form: faith in God or Gods, drugs, a partner, and even the idea of a family. But this collection of sing-songs doesn't render belief an act of desperation. It reveres it, for it is a very human thing to do or to have. To believe in something — anything at all — is within the fabric of humanity. In this way, Alex G will identify many of his estranged listeners where and when they need this record most.

Even with its deeply reflective ethos and half-spirituality, God Save The Animals still echoes the gut-natured, wild-eyed wonder of the same person who spent a decade transforming his niche audience into a massive cult following. Even when taking his recording process outside his bedroom for the first time, his DIY spirit remains, with God Save The Animals still resembling the sound of someone shooting the shit with his friends while fucking around on Garage Band. And the results – a predictably unpredictable record.

"Blessing" is a gothy call-and-response creeper resembling nothing else, while "Forgive" is a loud heartland firecracker that feels fully human — a complete foil to the reclusive aforementioned. This cross-hatching of styles sometimes happens in the same song, even, most notably, on the intimate "No Bitterness," where Alex G fashions himself as Nick Drake for a good two minutes, albeit with heavily distorted vocals. To close out, however, this delicate world detonates with an unabashed electro-pop breakdown that would make Drain Gang's finest blush. All this seeming genre jump-around and messiness would come across as unfocused if attempted by others. But this is Alex G's shtick – unevenness is purely relatable.

Though it feels glued together by the seams, God Save The Animals, like the best Alex G efforts, eventually reveals an almost impossible cohesiveness – a slightly off-kilter haze where a smouldering heart shines for others to lean into. While Alex G has never been the most personal songwriter, his vague but heartfelt sentiments, this time of faith, have miraculously injected hope and familiarity into the veins of younger millennials toeing the line of Gen Z. These are his people, and he's yet to fail in finding them.

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