As Sixties rock reunions go, this gathering of the original Animals is a better idea than most. In singer Eric Burdon, the group certainly had a mighty mouth, the most untamed of the young English white blues lions. And though the Animals may have lacked the cool, mod flash of the Rolling Stones, they never stiffened into blues academics.
Unfortunately, Ark, the group's second reunion bid, sounds like it was made by a tired, uninterested band. Bassist Chas Chandler, drummer John Steel, guitarist Hilton Valentine and keyboard man Alan Price play through the entire album with poker faces, shuffling anonymously through the brittle white reggae of "Love Is for All Time" and the colorless subdisco whirl of "The Night" like mercenary sessionmen. The all-new material, much of it penned by outside sources, is awkward and badly arranged. In fact, the only hint of former glory here is "Trying to Get to You," a passable blues nibble transformed by Burdon's salty roar as he fights the band's wooden strut every step of the way. More thud-thud than "Boom Boom," Ark is a good idea that should have stayed in dry dock.