Here's the band that rose from freakout and sing song into a deep-diving psychedelic replacement for the Beach Boys. Animal Collective once had a place in the New Weird America scene that twisted and turned our understanding of folk, ambient and experimental music into something entirely new. When members Avey Tare and Panda Bear made records back in the day, they were long, formless and bizarre, resulting in strange, ritualistic live shows focused on wayward percussion and vocal impulses. They did what all good bands do, and grew: they came back with songs on Sung Tongs, developing the sauntering arrangements they'd made on Campfire Songs into melodic theme tune versions of their sound.
Alongside pals Geologist and Deakin, the collective have risen to an acclaim beyond our imaginations. After the lush, inviting avant-fairytale of Feels, they turned their guitars into buzz saws on Strawberry Jam before introducing themselves to the world at large on their opus, Merriweather Post Pavillion. A pop canvas in ode to the great outdoors, this record's approachable expanse gave first time listeners access to the weird, wonderful world of Animal Collective, suggesting they could make bona fide pop songs without ditching their love of storms, and dirt, and obstacles. Now there are leagues of us happy to watch them play extended, Grateful Dead length jams of their songs live, or experience them trying new things on the obscured Centipede HZ and punkish Paitning With. When they're trying this many things out, anything can happen -- hit and miss, but also bliss.