The Animals – Ark

In 1983, the original Animals recorded another reunion album, on I.R.S. Records, of all things (I.R.S. was well known for new wave and alternative rock, not for bands whose heyday had been almost two decades earlier).

Again, all five original members were on the record, along with some support from Zoot Money and some others, including a player named Steve Grant who contributed two songs to the album. Eric Burdon had a hand in writing six of the tracks; only one, “Trying To Get To You,” is a recognizable cover. Where “Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted” sounded like a bunch of professionals having a good time, this sounds . . . well, Rolling Stone at the time said it wounded like it was made by “a tired, uninterested band.” It’s better than that. It sounds more of its time than “Before Were Were…” did – you would easily guess this was made in the ’80s. But at least it was an attempt to be a relevant band, not an oldies act. Two singles were released (two more than could be said for the previous reunion album), and “The Night” peaked at No. 48 on the Billboard Hot 100, a pretty respectable showing, but it wasn’t a song with any staying power.

Animals Ark front cover
The front cover of Ark. Why is a guy machine-gunning a creature that is presumably trying to get on the ark? Why is there a tiger behind him? Why are there blood spatters on the band’s name? So many questions. This is a goddamn disaster.

I will say, the Animals’ luck with getting a halfway decent album cover did not improve on their final collaboration. “Ark” is a questionable enough title, its relationship to animals generally notwithstanding. But . . . why is some kind of G-man machine-gunning a sea creature (while sitting on a glass ramp?). Is the tiger friend or foe? Why is there an airplane insignia on the side of the vessel? Why is there blood on the band’s name? For a group called “The Animals,” it seems odd to depict killing animals. The back cover credits Eric Burdon with the concept, but it’s weird, violent, and unappealing. (The artist, Paul Power, is a successful storyboard artist who lists this among his album credits.)

Animals Ark back cover
The back cover of Ark is better than most of The Animals’ front covers.
Ark on the I.R.S. label
The Animals’ last outing was on the I.R.S. label, home of new wave.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *