Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion

Eventhough I'm sure it's already been blogged to death, this desererves some space here for the amount of time I've spent enjoying it...

and besides, it's brilliant!

After the triumph that was 2007's Strawberry Jam, expectations were running high for the Collective's eighth full length. And although Deekin has departed, Merriweather doesn't disappoint.

I believe the case could be made that this is AC's Sgt. Pepper. And Before you dismiss me, here me out. Obviously the context is much different. AC is an indie band and although successful, they clearly lack a George Martin, and are hardly the cultural juggernaut the fab four were. Still their relentless experimenting, progression from interesting novelty to accomplished song smiths, and shear originality is comparable.

Animal Collective's primal revelry in the joy of shared sonic experience has always given their music a uniquely celebratory quality In this writer's opinion. And while previous efforts Sun Tongs and Feels recalled the wide eyed wonder of childhood; Merriwether is fully grown, but no less full of awe.

This feeling is perfectly encapsulated in opener In The flowers which starts with what has now become the customary electronic ambiance coupled with a simple acoustic guitar part. Then gives way to Avey singing over tympani sounding drums and bleeping electronics.

Merriweather is more straight forward with the pop influence than Strawberry Jam; the harmonizing Avey and Panda are laying down here is simply stunning. The guys have dabbled in this before to be sure, but not to this extent and this effect. As a result all of the songs here are quite catchy, nearly every one has been stuck in my head at some point. And yet, being an Animal Collective album, there is still plenty of experimentation. Geologist's contributions are more prominent than ever. The looped rhythm and synthetic bottom end of Also Frightened are characteristic of this album's sound and form the bedrock in many of these songs.

I feel like I'm gushing over this...

but seriously, this is the type of album that when you put it on, it doesn't matter that the world economy may be crumbling; that we are watching a train wreck in slow motion. Songs like My Girls with it's twinkling synths, reverb-drenched vox, hand claps and sublime refrain- "I don't mean/ to seem like i care about material things/ like a social status/ i just want four walls and adobe slabs/ for my girls"- make it all fade away like a bad dream upon awakening.

This album is truly a joy to experience from the opening pads to the final uplifting refrain of Brother Sport.

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