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'idealistic animals' addresses grand themes in simple terms: the search for a structure that can fill the void left behind after the loss of fundamental beliefs, the hunt for meaning in life, the random nature of our existence, and the fact that, when push comes to shove, there's little separating humanity from the rest of the animal kingdom. 'the record is quite fatalistic,' singer cherilyn macneil admits, 'my worst fear being that life is completely meaningless and i have absolutely no control or power.' unless you listen closely, though, you might not recognise the sentiments that lie at the album's heart. dear reader have always specialised in songs that sound as sweet as chocolate cheesecake, macneil's remarkable voice - pure and unpretentious, passionate but gentle - a soothing presence that masks chunks of confusion, even bitterness, hidden within. the result is a record that somehow combines the classics and the contemporary, from the candour of joni mitchell and the sweet eccentricity of kate bush to the refined simplicity of leslie feist and the inventive vocal clarity of st vincent.
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