When I first spun Animal last Thursday I didn't get it. I was preparing myself for a pretty heavy trip, a festival where drugs and alcohol were eschewed rather than encouraged. Something about it didn't sit right with me. Then I spun it again today and something clicked. There is a strange orchestral magic to Livingston's new record that allows it to stand tall. With its beautifully layered production and intricate sound, Animal goes beyond what many of the bands indie rock contemporaries are doing and lays the groundwork for a sound that is far more promising and epic.
Sure, there are a lot of weird touches of electronic music in here and some autotuned parts, but in all honesty, that adds to the strange beauty of this recording. The otherworldly vocal lines on tracks like Big Mouth is touching, it draws me in and touches the soul. If I was to compare these guys to any band around today I would have to draw a link with the Killers. There's the same idea of having prog rock instrumentation within an alt-rock context. That being said, there is a distinctly English touch to these guys sound which sets them apart from their peers. The music on Animal is honest, yet is done very differently than records from other nations, there is a distinct flavor that only Livingston can provide, and it shows clearly on every track of this album.
As the band eases their way through these tracks it's easy to find the beauty behind it. There is an ebb and flow to the music which transcends words and in many ways speaks to the magic of alt-rock in the twenty first century. These guys have great songwriting ideas and this makes for some singularly engaging work. The soundscapes crafted on Animal are stunning and will leave you in awe for spin after spin. Let Livingston work into your heart, you won't regret it. These guys have exciting and interesting new ideas, and after twelve years, it might just be their time to shine.
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