Our favorite botanist Mike McFadden (vocals) and his incredible bandmates are releasing their full-length in three parts. Of the project, he admitted: “We had this patchwork of songs that had never quite fit on other projects and when we looked at them all together, we realized that the songs told a story.” This is Part One of An Album Called Animal Years is the first installment, and was just released.

Comprised of five tracks, it truly ignites magic in the air as it picks up pace, McFadden’s vocal control and manipulation something otherworldly from the very first notes, 7 seconds into the first track “What I’m Fighting For.” And relatable from that very moment as well, with the first line “I’ve been so lost in the world that I used to know” something that pretty much anyone can understand, especially post-pandemic life. This song has the energy of an anthem, and that feels right for now.

“Let You In” is definitely a low-key country ballad that teeters on theatrical in a captivating way, while “Talkin’ To You” is a more hard-hitting love song. There is a bit of an attitude to the instrumentation in the track, the true twine holding each piece together residing in the soulful vocals provided by three-part harmony and admirable vocal range. So much talent in one collection of music, it’s almost not fair.

“Haines St. Station” slows everything down to the most bluesy, beautiful pace we have heard in quite a while. A song that discusses boundaries, insecurities, and doubts in an open environment, it feels a bit cathartic to enjoy this track in particular. And then the trio brings it home with a very inspiring track, upbeat and quite sticky sweet “Nobody Can Stop Me.” We’re fans, and we’re going to keep that one in our back pocket for the strange moments when we stumble. The energy is invigorating.

Meredith Schneider