Natalizia is no stranger to digging up the past (check out Mutazione, his Italian new wave compilation for Strut, or some of the anthologies he's curated for Ecstatic). As with Sound Houses, the BBC commission that saw Natalizia and Willis pay tribute to electronic music innovator Daphne Oram and her Radiophonic Workshop, the historical threads running through Animals are carefully recontextualized.
Similar to Oliver Ho's most recent Broken English Club album, Animals breaks down the barriers between club tracks and live rock music to deliver a blistering amalgamation of the two. Tracks like opener "Believe", "Head Body" and "Work Talk" cling to their origins in sweaty basement shows. Others, such as crotchety acid romper "I Know I Know I Know," sound more consciously tailored to today's retro-minded DJs than, say, "Face Attack," which makes a grungy return to '80s-era Belgium.
A whole album of such backwards glances could be trite, but they're only half the story here. In the poppy dirge of "Tomorrow We Will Kill You," the sci-fi oddities of "Gutsy" and the creepy skulking of "Presenza Immobile," Animals casts off into unfamiliar and experimental approaches. It might all sound erratic, but in this case it works. Natalizia leaps and twists through his musical history to make compelling, agile hybrids. His movements evoke the rebellious, non-conformist spirit of punk, redefined on Animals for the modern dance floor.