Skip to content

Robbers On High Street – Grand Animals

Arriving at the Driskill Hotel in Austin to meet with Robbers on High Street during SXSW, I couldn’t help but feel a bit of irony as I entered the classic lobby with early twentieth century Charlestown S.C. It matched the mood and visuals that danced in my brain after listening to the band’s Fatalist and Friends E.P., which would soon be the makings of Grand Animals.

I already was in love with all the songs on the E.P., and listening to those and the new tracks firmly planted this album as one of my favorites for 2007. There’s a light elegance to “The Ramp,” which sways lazily and lovely like a porch swing dancing with a summer breeze, although the story behind the music reads like a dreamlike tragedy.


Thanks to the trombone, “Guard At Your Heel,” comes into town with the rhythms of a 1930’s circus parade. “The Fatalist” is the track that will have you “k-cha”ing along uncontrollably, with a head bop that follows.

With taffy sweetness via slide guitar, “Your Phantom Walks The Hall” plays like a tropical anthem, you almost feel those tiny bubbles tickling your back. John Lennon seems to have haunted the studio during the making of “You Don’t Stand a Chance,” as lead singer Ben Trokan takes on that sparkling buoyancy that Lennon always seemed to craft through his vocals and instrumentation.

In the case of Grand Animals, the uniqueness is delivered within the details—a click of wood here, a chime there, the horns and even a ringing phone in the background. Whether it was the freshness that Italian film composer Daniele Luppi, a neophyte at producing a rock album, brought into the mix or the maturity the band has developed since Tree City, or a combination of the two, either way the formula in quite grand indeed.


Sign up to our newsletter and get updates to your mailbox