As is the tradition with Animal Collective, here is an EP companion to their most recent album Painting With, offering a few last chances to hear them working in that mode before they inevitably move on to something different. Four previously unheard tracks, including a cover of a song made famous by Martha & The Vandellas! 12” on Domino.
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They've been hinting at it pretty much since the release of their masterpiece 'Merriweather Post Pavillion' but Animal Collective have finally convincingly jumped the shark. The actual moment comes later in the EP but the whole thing reeks of an ageing wacky comedian still trying to entertain despite their skills having long been eroded by the ageing process and the passage of time - a Pitchfork-approved answer to the Chuckle Brothers.
'Kinda Bonkers' is tragic. It's the comedown after the E number high of the goofy 'Floridada' - even they can't be arsed, the musical equivalent of a tired child insisting on one last go on the ride oblivious to all sense around it. 'Goalkeeper' is better...marginally. Since the lush sweeping 'Merriweather', Animal Collective seemingly have started producing their music on a casio keyboard and this is so shrill your ears will be screaming. Still the vocals tangle around each other impressively as they always do but they continue to mine the same idea into the ground and by the end everything in my body hurts. Y'see when Amco calm down a bit they are still good. The genius of 'Merriweather' was that it was both thrilling and mature. With 'Peacemaker' here (not 'Peacebone' - even their titles are starting to reek of the familiar) they prove they can still charm. It's lovely and that's despite them still doing that alternate vocal thing they've been working on since 'Centipede Hz'.
But the Jump the Shark moment comes right at the end when they turn Martha Reeves 'Jimmy Mack' into something that is between a seasick, drunken post pub karaoke or an ill fated attempt by crrrazy 80s comedian Phil Cool at collaborating with Stock Aitken and Waterman. It's the worst moment of their or anyone else's career and almost...almost undoes the years of good work they have put in so far. Can they not just go away for a bit? They seem like good intelligent fellers -I don't want to see them end up like this.
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- The Painters EP by Animal Collective
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