Vinyl Double LP £18.99 WIGLP274X
Ltd indies only deluxe gatefold 180g vinyl 2LP + bonus DVD on Domino.
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CD £7.99 WIGCD274
CD on Domino.
First up, I’m pretty much an Animal Collective non believer. Ok, I’m a partial believer. Parts of ‘Merriweather Post Pavillion’ were excellent. Parts of it. But just like a child hepped up on E-numbers you had to wait a while for it to settle down before you could really cope to be around it. But the good stuff arrived, leading to the second part of that album being some of my favourite music of the last few years. The first few tracks? Forget ‘em. Awful.
Onto the much anticipated follow up, press reaction has been restrained this time so it’s back to normal after the insane hyperbole that greeted ‘Merriweather...’. Opener ‘Moonjock’ it has to be said sounds like early They Might Be Giants fronted by South Park’s Stan. The album has an extremely compressed, tinny sound (as did ‘Merriweather’) which is off-putting - why do they want to sound so small? ‘Today’s Supernatural’ again uses the South Park vocal but has strong tumbling melodies, ‘sometimes you got to go get mad’ the constipated voice screeches, ‘sometimes you gotta go get to the bathroom before your vocal take’ we holler back. ‘Rosie OH’ has a John Flansbugh turn on vocals, answering the question of how to follow up such a lauded opus by basically writing a song backwards. ‘Applesauce’ passes by with the general restraint of a fly buzzing around a jam jar and marginally less tuneful.
Right, chaps have we calmed down now? Good. The second half of the album is more restrained, the songs more mid-paced and considered than the earlier frantic jitteriness and is much more enjoyable but doesn’t really do anything ‘Merriweather’ didn’t do, the sound is less organic (though they are never ever particularly organic) and I’m particularly enjoying ‘New Town Riches’ with its stop/start melody and much more clear-headed affecting vocal and closer ‘Amanita’ is probably the standout with an oriental-like melody wandering away but it never ever reaches the dizzy heights of a ‘Brother Sport’ for example, despite aping its two part structure.
Overall your enjoyment of this album will depend how much you are converted to their sound. I find the chaotic compressed sound grating at times, and am concerned that the sonic debris they hurl over their music masks a lack of substance beneath. But that’s exactly what many love about them. A band definitely overrated, but not without moments of true inspiration.
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