Fast Rites: because sometimes brevity is fundamental.
I’ve covered quite a bit of grindcore in my however-many years doing this “music criticism” thing, and I can honestly say that Animal Schoolbus is the best child-fronted grind band I’ve ever run across.
Back when Grammy’s House was first released, 7 years ago now, frontwoman Princess Beast was a mere two years old. These days, she’s a moshpit-seasoned 9 or so, and she’s still bringing the screams. Back then, Grammy’s House was released in a limited-edition physical run of 50 copies, and as it comes back around now, the same ultra-small-batch rules apply, except that this version is remixed and extended with three new songs and three live tracks captured at the 2019 Rise & Grind festival.
Musically, Animal Schoolbus is more than what you’d expect. Blastbeats abound beneath dissonant riffery; tempos shift swiftly to chunky, chugging core — those are standard to the style, of course, and Animal Schoolbus fits in that mold. But it would’ve been easy to just phone these tracks in, to rip through some basic raw grinding and rely entirely upon the father/daughter dynamic as a gimmick or a marketing angle, but thankfully, one-man band / dad Charlie Sad Eyes backs up Princess’ ragings with musical underpinnings that are a little more interesting than mere simplistic power-chord bludgeoning. Added to the end of the previous release, the new songs feel a little more developed, more mature, a bit of a progression from the earlier ones. The call-and-response dialogue in “I Bet Taylor Swift Never Has To Clean Her Room” is particularly fun, the demonic parental guttural insisting on the titular chore to which Princess responds angrily, “I’m busy watching YouTube!” The live material is equally silly and entertaining, and especially so hearing Princess’ stage banter, her between-song exhortations to get a circle pit started and the subsequent derision when the Rise & Grind crowd didn’t impress. (Apparently Ariana Grande fans do it better.) Sure, it’s goofy, but c’mon, it’s an extreme metal band called “Animal Schoolbus” and fronted by a fourth-grader…
It sells Animal Schoolbus short to call them a “gimmick band,” although I suppose it’s not wholly inaccurate. Still, considering the nature of Princess Beast’s beast here, Going To Grammy’s House holds up surprisingly well.
In all these however-many years of writing, I’ve used many words to describe grindcore, but “adorable” has never been one.
Release date: April 30, 2021. Label: Lawnmowerjetpack Records.