First published on Mess+Noise.
Ex Tropical’ – the debut album for Lost Animal – is nothing short of breezy, seedy brilliance from a nonchalant savant. Words by KATE HENNESSY.
Lost Animal is the solo project of Jarrod Quarrell, previously singer and songwriter in St Helens. St Helens broke up in 2010, just a year after their acclaimed debut LP Heavy Profession was released. Reportedly the band split so Quarrell could focus on Lost Animal, and now comes Ex Tropical, the fruit of that premature divorce.
On a first listen, it’s a weird ride. Ex Tropical takes the balmy island vibe of dub reggae and ices it way down, re-locating it somewhere urban and mean. It layers the mid-tempo schmaltz of ’80s funk-soul ballads with morose horns a la Morphine and the chic Caribbean groove of Grace Jones. There’s washes of dubstep warble, mawkish keys and several echoes of early Eno. Tying it all together is Quarrell’s voice, that same worldly, windswept drawl that made St Helens fans swoon. What he lacks in range he bleeds in cool, managing to fuse nonchalance with intensity; insouciance with intent.