It seems totally insane that it has been ten years since Animal Collective's high watermark Merriweather Post Pavilion album. To celebrate, the band are issuing this 3LP live album containing tracks from the album and other favourites performed in concert on their 2009 tour. A fascinating document of a unique and mind bending band at their peak.
Vinyl Triple LP £33.99 WIGLP462
3LP on Domino in M-Pack gatefold with etching on side-F.
- Includes download code
- Only 1 copy left
Live albums are a weird one and can easily split a crowd of music fans. Some can’t stand the audience noise and would much rather sit down to a studio LP, whilst others love the vigour and wild reinterpretations they can offer. Grateful Dead enthusiasts testify that their live records far surpass their studio output, and classics by Thin Lizzy, Keith Jarret, James Brown and Johnny Cash remain their bestsellers. If you were at a show for your favourite band and they release it as a live record, you’re bound to pick it up on physical to relive the experience. Animal Collective have been a personal favourite band for a while, and as I never got to see them on the tour to their hugely acclaimed ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’ album, I’ve decided to dip into this live report.
‘Ballet Slippers’ begins with the soft, bubbling tones of ‘In The Flowers’, the slow-burning MPP opener which simmers away instead of erupting into powerful euphoria at its midpoint. Avey Tare’s voice sounds incredibly on point, though Panda Bear’s harmonies can at times sound flat or ever so slightly off-time. I was expecting the bombast to pull me into those familiar sounds of a record I’ve listened to countless time, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be found. What a puzzling start! Thankfully though, it’s redeemed by ‘Who Could Win A Rabbit’, which gets a live update with twinkling synths and its usual gorgeous strummed acoustics for an exciting and passion rendition.
It’s the longer tracks on ‘Ballet Slippers’ where the group really shines. ‘Banshee Beat’ swathes and hums along with Avey’s vocals gorgeously, as if he and his synths and guitars are in perfect sync. ‘Daily Routine’ takes me right back to the staggering moments of when I saw their Manchester show, and the twenty-minute double-punch merge of ‘Lablakely Dress/Fireworks’ makes it worth the admission price alone. ‘My Girls’, ‘Lion In A Coma’ and ‘Brothersport’ sound fantastic too of course!
Often the mix can sound a bit muddy and needs a bit of oomph, but legions of Animal Collective fans have been lusting for a proper live album from this era for years now, even going as far as sharing phone recorded bootlegs around forums. ‘Ballet Slippers’ offers exciting renderings and a nostalgic throwback to a hugely exciting time in independent music, making it a must for hardcore fans and a record which casual listeners will appreciate a whole load too.
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