Thursday, 11 June 2009

Lisa Mitchell + Animal Kingdom @ London Water Rats Theatre

“You may know this song, it’s been on the TV for a Surf advert,” explains Australian Lisa Mitchell (pictured) before she launches into Neopolitan Dreams. It’s a simple acoustic ditty with an addictive “Ba ba ba ba,” chorus, happy clapperisms, and twinkle toes step xylophone sound. It makes us want to run into the kitchen and kiss a washing machine. Mitchell was a finalist in Australian Idol, but don’t hold that against her. Her music is better than that. A tall, skinny, slightly geeky looking girl with an oversized bow in her head, she is charmingly cute, like Laura Marling having swallowed a bunch of happy pills, erratically twitching and cooing. “Thanks for coming down, especially if this was a special occasion,” she smiles, before confirming that “I have no idea what I’m talking about.” Then she’s gone, probably whisked away by the fairies.

Depending on your perspective, Animal Kingdom have possibly written one of the most perfect songs you will hear all year or one of the most annoyingly drippy. It’s called Chalk Stars. The song is either a thing of infinite beauty or a deep puddle with mouldy cheese floating on the top. It’s a slow motion, melancholy cinematic piece that hints at Sigur Ross and Snow Patrol. It could easily find itself on the ending of some schmaltzy American film or TV drama where a couple fall into each others arms and walk off into the sunset, and everyone will have a ‘moment‘. It is no surprise the band end their set with it, the song has such an enormous impact. It doesn’t just reach for the stars, but asteroids, black holes and the edge of the universe as well. Their other material is also suitably grandiose, sometimes being reminiscent of early Coldplay, with Richard Sauberlich’s dreamy high pitched vocal floating over the songs. Not every number they perform has the emotive power of Chalk Stars, and the band suffer a little from losing the crowds attention at certain points of the set, but future single Tin Man has enough fire to keep ears warm with its soaring chorus of “Tell me if it’s love, ’cos baby I’m a tin man.”

Animal Kingdom will be one mans wet dream, but for another they will just be wet.

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