Signs And Wonders is the debut album from London four-piece. Signed to record giants Warner, they had the opportunity to record the album in Seattle and had it produced by Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes, Band Of Horses). So, you'd think that this would be a gem of a debut. Sadly, it falls short on quite a few levels.
Animal Kingdom sound like they aspire to join the likes of ColdPlay and Snow Patrol on the indie folk band wagon , but this has been done and honestly, people are looking for something a bit different. The album opens with Good Morning Mr Magpie which is a saccharine sweet acoustic number with a weak, barely there melody. The lyrics 'Good morning Mr Magpie, it's a lovely day' made me want to turn off immediately. However, the album steps up a gear the title track that does have a melody and hook.
There are definite flashes of beauty, Mephistopheles for example is a dark, brooding number, with vocals almost chanted over the top. It is the only one that really draws you in both lyrically and vocally and it is evidence that this band can give you emotion and depth, it's just a shame that the rest of the album doesn't follow suit.
For a band of this ilk, I'd expect emotionally deep lyrics with an equally passionate delivery but unfortunately throughout the majority if this album, you get neither. The haunting vocal style that is currently in vogue doesn't quite match up to the likes of Arcade Fire or Sigur Ros, both of which the band have been compared to.
The problem is, this album is pleasant enough to listen to but doesn't give you anything to chew on, any substance. The majority of the tracks lack a strong melody and therefore become indistinguishable. Although the production is excellent, its shine seems to have taken away the English charm that may well have set them apart from their counterparts.