It seems strange to say that this is one of a very few album releases by Dunlop, although he has released plenty of singles and EP’s and had tracks used in a huge number of high profile TV shows (Nashville, Suits, Bones). If memory serves, his last album was 2017’s No. 79 but Dunlop has been busy producing albums for Foy Vance and Lee Rogers and setting up Sycamore Studios in Belfast where this album was recorded.
Dunlop experiments with rhythm and tempo across the 10 tracks and the tracks range from slow and soulful to up-beat and energetic; Dunlop’s vocals remain, as always, rich and expressive.
The title track Animal is introspective and thoughtful; ‘Look Back Smiling’ is a happier and more optimistic song. Slow ballads such as ‘Sorrow’ give way to the toe-tapping ‘My Kind of Paradise’. ‘Old Friends’ gives us a guided tour through Dunlop’s influences, both musical and otherwise.
Everything is beautifully produced and sound quality (as you would expect) is second to none.