Fastest Land Animal is the brainchild of John Cusimano, founder and singer/songwriter of NYC band, The Cringe. Cusimano had been kicking around the idea of a side project for a couple years, so when New York closed down in March due to the pandemic, he finally had the time to dive in.
“I thought it would be liberating for us to adopt alter egos and record these new songs as a different band; similar to what Green Day did with Foxboro Hot Tubs and The Network,” he explained. “We couldn’t change our situation, but we could change our perspective, which opened up some interesting possibilities.”
Enter Fastest Land Animal. Cusimano had the songs and the sound, but still needed creative co-conspirators to bring his idea to life. He recruited producer Don Gilmore (Eve 6, Linkin Park, The Cringe), working together over Zoom on song arrangements before completing the new power trio with Cringe bandmate, Jonny Blaze (guitar/bass) and friend Andrew Meskin (drums). Guest artist, Bob Schneider (formerly of Ugly Americans), co-wrote and sings on the track, “Bubble Candy.”
When the album was finished and being mixed by legendary engineer Chris Lord-Alge, Cusimano decided it was time to have some fun with Fastest Land Animal’s backstory. “We gave ourselves wild names and crazy origins. I’m ‘Screamin’’ Jack Novak, and I was born of a jackal and raised by my father, a nanny and two irascible Rottweilers,” he laughs.
The self-titled album is here and gone in 30 minutes, maintaining a frantic pace throughout all 9 tracks. Despite that limited space, the group packs in a surprisingly wide range of sounds and textures, from fist-pumping riffs (“Answer In My Head”) and spring-loaded rhythms (“Bubble Candy”), to hummable hooks (“Too Close To The Fire”) and menacing grooves (Never Gonna Leave”).
Fastest Land Animal Track Listing:
- Too Close To The Fire
- Answer In My Head
- Bubble Candy
- I’ll Do The Crime
- Punching Above My Weight
- Never Gonna Leave
- Buried Alive
- Take It or Break It
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