Animal Kingdom, No support
Alisha Ahmed 23/09/2009
My first contact with Animal Kingdom was having their single in my hands. I didn't like the grey-ness of the cover much, so I discarded it without paying much attention. I also paid so little attention to them, that I might have called them 'Animal Collective' a couple of times, that was how much I really didn't care. Yeah, fine... the intro of Tin Man was catchy enough to grab my attention when it was on the radio, but other than that, I was blind. Big mistake.
Thankfully something happened a few weeks ago and I stumbled into this mellow piano-xylophone melody loop, which sounded just like the next best thing compared to Sigur Rós or For a Minor Reflection. Bingo, here was another band worth listening to! The song playing was the usual closing number for Animal Kingdom's gigs, a beautiful piece of crafted music called Chalk Stars. I was lucky to catch them live twice when they were touring in support of Silversun Pickups this summer, and now that they've embarked on their own tour I was impressed to see how many people from those gigs have grown to become their crowd. The Lexington, which they played on 23rd September, was filled with a crowd of people so involved and having such a great time I could not believe it was just a couple of months ago these four shy lads were sharing the stage with the likes of Snow Patrol.
So, who's behind Animal Kingdom? It's four Londoner lads (Richard Sauberlich, Hamish Crombie, Wayne Yardley and Geoff Lea), still young enough to clearly enjoy and be grateful for the fact that their job is playing their music. I was reading through their quotes and I love how it really transpires from every word, the fact that they still cannot believe it and that they are so unbelievably happy and so they give so much. It's so refreshing to see this kind of human enthusiasm, that is set to be eventually hidden by the mystical aura all musicians have to have in order be sold also as an attractive package to the public.
Richard is gifted with a voice that makes him the Neil Tennant of our generation (but don't say it too aloud when you get near him, a simply comparison with Mew might suffice and will definitely be better), although the style of Animal Kingdom goes nowhere near that direction. They're definitely the most melodic and pleasant to the ears of any edgy indie band around. They have so much potential to unveil and develop. I just hope it will actually be rightfully developed.
Animal Kingdom are actually so good I am not sure I want to endorse them, I wish I could keep them my secret so that they play only intimate gigs at the Lexington, because the intimate warm feeling is just what their music feels like.
Animal Kingdom Myspace
Animal Kingdom photo also by Alisha Ahmed.