Hail Animator - We Live In Boxes

Owain Paciuszko 07/05/2010

Rating: 2/5

Leeds quartet have a self-confessed fondness for the 'big, grandiose, overblown', and sure enough on the first track of this debut EP they snuggle comfortably into the kind of anthemic pop mold that Snow Patrol have wombled into over the years and, unfortunately, for a large part there's a certain degree of anonymity to this group.

Simple Yet Wise (There Must Be One) manages to throw in some jittery and interesting percussion clicking and clattering in the background, but it's swamped by the lazy stadium indie that sits front and centre. The ebb and flow of the track doesn't gel with the lyrics, leaving the listener cold and distant to what should be an ever evolving and exciting journey inciting moshing/sing-a-longs etc. as and when required.

Things go a bit Keane with the piano heavy introduction to Working via a half-tempo You Get What You Give by New Radicals, except lacking the vital memorable chorus of the latter act, instead slumping into twinkling guitar passages and lyrics sung well but without feeling. Elsewhere The List begins with a jazzier quality before turning its slow-quick pacing into another cookie cutter of build-up and let down. There is nothing totally objectionable about the music this bunch make, but neither is there anything to really distinguish them from the myriad sound-a-likes that have already achieved far greater successes, so, a listener is left wondering; where does this band fit in?

Things perk up on the more ramshackle, jaunty sound of final track What You Did, which sidles up to something approximating Kaiser Chiefs putting a bit of effort in for a change. It boasts some elegant and hair-raising piano alongside swathes of spine-tingling guitar, delightfully arranged backing vocals and pleasingly erratic timing.

However it's not enough to really rescue was is ultimately a rather disappointing package, the earlier tracks merge into one another and leave the memory once they've served their time. Undoubtedly though, Hail Animator boasts a talented bunch of members capable of something better.