February 1, 2012

Animal Kingdom

As evidenced by the genuinely disappointing latest effort by The Big Pink, it's no secret here on AwkwardSound that whenever a new band from across the pond creeps up onto the radar, skepticism is to be had. So why is it that when the UK actually does have something worth considering, it goes almost entirely unnoticed? That's the case for South London's Animal Kingdom, a trio of pop rockers who sound so American, it'd be a surprise if they didn't make any sort of crossover impact with the mainstream indie scene Stateside. The band got its start in 2008 originally as a quintet, but have since trimmed down to the trio of frontman and guitarist Richard Sauberlich, bassist Hamish Crombie and drummer Geoff Lea. In 2009, they released their debut album Signs and Wonders, a luminous, melancholy listen that swoops around Sigur Rós-like atmospherics and haunting indie folk akin to Fleet Foxes, The Shins and Band of Horses. Despite working with venerable producer Phil Ek and touring with the likes of Silversun Pickups in the UK, Animal Kingdom never got the chance to make their mark in the States. That should change this time around with the arrival of their as-yet-to-be-titled sophomore effort. The LP's first single "Strange Attractor" has been gaining traction on college radio, as the trio seem to have studied the recent success of cross-cultural contemporaries M83 and Phoenix by applying futuristic synth hooks and arena-sized choruses into their songwriting game (not to mention David Kosten, who worked on Bat for Lashes' Two Suns and has been heralded as the next Nigel Godrich, took on production duties here.) Look for Animal Kingdom's reign to begin when their new album arrives on Mom + Pop Records imprint Boombox later this year.

Animal Kingdom - "Strange Attractor"

Animal Kingdom - "Signs and Wonders"

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