LUKA
What Kind of Animal

by Jim Di Gioia

December 1, 2017

LUKA What Kind of Animal

What Kind of Animal reveals a simplicity and beauty to LUKA’s work that’s been there all along.

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Timing is everything. Though it was recorded live-to-tape in January 2016, LUKA held off releasing his latest record, What Kind of Animal until November 2017; When winter’s impending chill pairs perfectly with the autumnal stillness of the eight songs.

What Kind of Animal stands in stark contrast to 2016’s Summon a Monkey King, wherein singer-songwriter Luke Kuplowsky plays the part of the trouble-making trickster, wisecracking his way through serious discussions on the nature of love. Subversive and sometimes self-mocking, Summon a Monkey King is a record that sashays and sways. On What Kind of Animal, all that potential energy is turned inward, pressurized and contained, never bursting forth. “Near Collision” lies dormant for its first minute, its latent melody awakening as Kuplowsky is joined by Evan Cartwright, Sam Gleason, and Cory Harper-Latkovich to fill in the lines of this spare, willowy poem set to song. “Animal” is a caged beast, hopelessly flailing against its impenetrable cage, fighting desperately to break free. It’s followed by “The Claw”, a song that tempers the former’s rage in the same way a thorn in the paw takes the bite out of a tiger’s bark.

What Kind of Animal is a strange beast in the menagerie of LUKA’s releases, an evolutionary leap traces its lineage through the deadpan wit of its predecessors. Like an impressive oak tree whose leaves have abandoned it for the winter, What Kind of Animal reveals the songwriting might and poetic strength at the core of Luke Kuplowsky’s songs. As seasons change, so do great artists, uncovering a simplicity and beauty to their work that’s been there all along.

Jim Di Gioia

CoFounder at DOMINIONATED
Jim founded the music blog Quick Before It Melts in 2006 and was its principal writer until 2016, when its decade-long run ended 10 years to the day it started. DOMINIONATED is its spiritual successor. Jim currently serves as a Polaris Music Prize jurist and Prism Prize jurist.
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