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In the aftermath of Scott Walker’s recent death, I’ve been looking for original music that takes me to the dark, disorienting place his later work delves into. That’s why I was so glad to hear Philly’s Tadzio and their recent release “Scared Animal” on BLIGHT. records. In their own, unique way, Philly band Tadzio has accomplished a similar feat as Walker had on some of his starker tracks from The Drift. “Scared Animal” creates less of a feeling of a song then a scene from a movie.

“Scared Animal” is a slow burn. I don’t recommend throwing it on your workout playlist. The song opens starkly like a scene from an early 1920s French surrealist film. A creeping, atonal piano creates a disorienting sense of suspense, almost like shadows moving across a brick wall. The lamenting vocals slowly appear and cradle the listener through beautiful passages. Descending piano melodies almost harken to falling leaves and take playful turns with jazzier progressions.

The song makes me feel like I’m lying in the front yard of a haunted house on a fall day. As a soft wind blows across the yard, the whispers of ghosts breezes around my ears. The song both entices with its beauty yet warns through its woeful imagery of the dangers inside. The final repetition of the truism, “There is nothing more dangerous than a scared animal,” serves as the moral of the story, and makes you want to listen again and again, peeling back its layers of meaning.

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