Oxford Zodiac

...The Animalhouse[/B] have arrived fully formed, armed with the kind of professional stance that can win over a heaving crowd of hometown peers and sceptics who've barely been exposed to them.

Hmmmm. An Oxford-based supergroup featuring two former members of [a]Ride[/a] and a backroom genius who produced and played on [a]Supergrass[/a]’ debut. Named after the classic John Landis fraternity flick that starred the late John Belushi. Can’t be right, can it? Time was when the mere mention of the word ‘supergroup’ was enough to make you sick and delirious. Truth is, though, that The Animalhouse have arrived fully formed, armed with the kind of professional stance that can win over a heaving crowd of hometown peers and sceptics who’ve barely been exposed to them. Singer Mark Gardener is barely recognisable from his former self, looking like a man who’s been burnt by rock’n’roll, back to exact revenge. His guitar’s slung low, his hair’s short and cropped. It’s a marked contrast to ex-producer Sam Williams, who seems to love the spotlight. Together, they make a sound that marries dance grooves and [I]The Banana Splits [/I]keyboards to spiked guitars and four-part harmonies. The standout track at the moment is their squalling debut single ‘Animal’, although its B-side ‘Essence’ also has its moments. After the disappointment of Andy Bell‘s Hurricane #1, maybe we’re about to find out who the talented ones in [a]Ride[/a] really were.