The Animals

The Animals [UK]

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The group's U.K. debut long-player, containing -- in the custom of the time in England -- not one of their singles up to that point, including "House of the Rising Sun." Apart from "Story of Bo Diddley" (which is, itself, heavily steeped in conventions out of Bo Diddley's repertory), everything here is a cover of traditional blues and R&B material, and a bit on the dry side, as though the band was trying too hard to prove themselves. This is one of the more serious and dour British Invasion-era albums, with none of the cheerfulness evident on the work of the Liverpool, Birmingham, or Manchester-based bands of the period -- the Chuck Berry covers, in particular, seem rather joyless compared to rival versions by the Rolling Stones, et al. For adult orientation, The Animals is roughly on a par with the Rolling Stones' debut LP (though that album is also more fun). The group would do better in the future in a less stiff and intense posture, but this is a strong debut. In 1998, The Animals was reissued in remastered form as part of EMI's 100th Anniversary series, and all of its tracks also appear on EMI's Complete Animals double-CD set as well.

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