This is a review of "Days For These Nights" recorded by Hail Animator. The review was written by Jessica Thornsby in 2009.
Relatively new Leeds outfit Hail Animator's debut, three-track demo kicks off with the weaker of the three songs, 'Days For These Nights.' The verses knock along to a bone-jarring combination of clunking drums and sharply-plucked chords, before spinning into a loose, jangly indie-rock chorus. The chorus is finished off with some wickedly sharp vocal hooks, making this a solid slice of indie-rock that's vaguely enjoyably, but won't have you itching to pass this demo onto your friends.
Thankfully, that all changes with second track and demo-highlight 'Working Just As Hard As We Can,' which has a far more individual sound. The first verse is mainly just frontman Richard's voice laid over carefully measured, booming drumbeats that are guaranteed to get your foot tapping along. And it gets better, as the pre-chorus build up places the spotlight on the piano that had previously just been tinkling away in the background. Here, Hail Animator begin to sound like a non-boring version of Keane. But it's the chorus where Hail Animator will really blow the listener away, as angular synths trill through a heady swirl of guitars and foot-stomping piano. 'Working Just As Hard As We Can' and, in particular the chorus, are where you'll start paying a lot more attention to Hail Animator.
Funky final track 'What You Did' has a jazzier slant, as guitars groove back and forth across that ever-present piano. Even the freer-flowing chorus periodically breaks off into squealing, angular riffs and sharp drum rolls. 'What You Did' is a slick and sassy, jazzed-up take on indie-rock conventions.
To say this is the first demo from a band who've been together for less than a year, this three-track release is impressive. 'Days For The Nights' is the only song that strays close to 'typical indie-rock' territory, where you could be listening to Hail Animator or, alternatively, pretty much any other aspiring indie-rock band. The Keane-esque, electro-studded shriek of 'Working Just As Hard As We Can' and the irresistibly groovy 'What You Did' are both original takes on the genre, and are well worth a listen.