Nutshell Album Review: Animal Kingdom – The Looking Away
This Summer is quickly shaping up to be one packed full of indie music, so packed that it may actually take away the oh-so unique sound of today’s musical innovators. A strand of the sounds of Summer 2012 is Animal Kingdom, a British trio who’s second LP The Looking Away (released back in May) gives us a taste of more than a handful of bands trying to make it in the era of digital music.
The album opens with “The Wave”, complete with dreamy, MGMT-style vocals layered on top of powerful (and sometimes tribal sounding) drum beats and keyboards. It sounds like a song to back up the opening credits of a movie, so it appropriately opens the album. “Get Away With It” is what follows, a higher paced, danceable song that is really a gem of this album. Another high point is the the third track “Strange Attractor”, a strong emphasis on vocal talent and songwriting alike.
A step back from the energy being built up is “Straw Man”, a slow piano song with alien-like accompaniment and the often heard droney vocals. “Skipping Disc” has a solid opening drum beat that leads you through an all-out journey. Animal Kingdom hits their stride and utilizes everything in their possession for this one. “Glass House” is the most energy put out on this album, but it is quickly marred by distracting sound effects and vocal mixings that make it seem like the British trio is trying a bit too hard to be an indie band.
“The Art of Tuning Out” brings back the sound effects and powerful drums, and add a sense of urgency that is all encased in the “start, stop” structure. “White Sparks” is a slower song of the album, and features some of the interesting instrumental sounds heard from Gotye’s most recent work. “Everything At Once” pulls out a strong guitar emphasis, which is continued on album closer “Alone Together”. This slowed down, beach rock sound is a great way to put a cap on this album and end it strongly.
Animal Kingdom is only two albums into their young music careers, and they are quite the promising trio. The Looking Away had many ups and downs, but was kept interesting. The inconsistencies were noticeable, and the push to have an unachieved sound was felt. But there were diamonds in the rough, most notably the rhythm section and songs like “Skipping Disc” and “Get Away With It”. Nutshell gives The Looking Away a 73/100, and it is available now.
The Looking Away Tracklisting:
1. The Wave
2. Get Away With It
3. Strange Attractor
4. Straw Man
5. Skipping Disc
6. Glass House
7. The Art of Tuning Out
8. White Sparks
9. Everything At Once
10. Alone Together