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Mike DeGagne [allmusic.com]
Gowan's keyboard playing prowess led to hits in both ''You're a Strange Animal'' and ''A Criminal Mind'' in Canada, making excellent use of the synthesizer's ability to create a riff that is pop savvy and straightforward. With both the piano and synthesizer taking precedent on most of the album, the tracks on Strange Animal are built on catchy choruses and melodies that are quirky and to the point. The shimmering tinkle of ''Cosmetics'' and the marching, left-right pace of ''Guerilla Soldier'' are two of the album's best, which harbor his glittery but substantial pop recipe. The comic book flavor of ''A Criminal Mind'' is creative and different sounding from other keyboard pop music that was being made at the same time, deliciously dark and foreboding in its campy structure. After Strange Animal and Great Dirty World, which are both similar in their pop makeup, Gowan's music took on a more mature sound, leaving the highly animated, keyboard guided material behind to focus on his songwriting.