Album: Animal Kingdom, Signs and Wonders (Warner Brothers)

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The cover to Animal Kingdom's debut, all downcast tones of grey and beige, accurately conveys the bland fare offered by this hotly-tipped new British band.

The title track neatly encapsulates their unadventurous formula, with its groove reminiscent of The Cure, echoes of Coldplay in the melody, and a soupçon of Muse in the fascination with mysterious portents. "Good Morning" opens the album positively, with its conversational reference to "mister magpie" hinting at roots in UK folklore; but the initially intriguing vocal, with shades of Yes's Jon Anderson in Richard Sauberlich's high-register delivery, quickly becomes more of a millstone as the narrowness of his emotional range becomes evident. It's all pitched at the same level, using the same few chords in predictable sequences – he could be reading the phone directory. Lyrically, there are dull borrowings from The Bible and The Wizard Of Oz, a dollop or two of comforting Coldplay-style solace, and a rather distasteful vein of juvenile self-regard in the simplistic faux-rebellious superiority of "Yes Sir, Yes Sir". Worse still is the portentous gloating of "Into The Sea", glibly depicting a businessman's suicidal mid-life crisis. Signs And Wonders is yet more self-important, herbivorous stadium melancholia begging to be put out of its misery.

Download this: Good Morning

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