Artist name: Animal Collective
Album name: Merryweather Post Pavilion
Label: Domino Records
Gender: Experimental Rock/Psychedelic Pop
Release date: January 6, 2008
There’s something just special about Animal Collective, that always resonates in their wacky, space-out music. I always like to think of them as modern day Peter Pans, a trio of grown up men forever trapped in childhood’s magical grasp. I just love it how they transmit this feeling in their music. Strawberry Jam, their previous LP, felt exactly like a carnival ride – weird, eclectic and extremely fun; “Merryweather Post Pavilion” (MCC), the latest AC studio effort, doesn’t quite follow in the same ‘paw tracks.’ It seems, rather, more similar to Panda Bear’s gloomy Person Pitch, an amalgam of experimental, wacky samples, feel good with a dash of pop.
On MPP, number nine in their discography repertoire, the band has pushed the sound a good step further, excelling in their production skill, reaching near perfection in sound. Layers upon layers of samples, walls of sounds and percussion shatter and stimulate every auditive nerve.The songwriting isn’t quite top notch, I mean most of the time you can hardly understand what either of the two vocalists (Avey Tare + Panda Bear) say, but they always seem to manage to pull off gibberish lyrics – part of their persona, I guess.
MMP kicks off with a postmodern anthem, “In The Flowers,” packed with synths and samples. It starts off really mysteriously and visionary, almost like a PJ Harvey single, before exploding in a wall of synths in the chorus, were the ever present Beach Boys harmonies and ‘uh-ahs’ dominate the feel good atmosphere. On “My Girls,” Panda Bear talks about what means to be a parent and how he only wants a home for his wife and two girls. It’s incredible actually how AC can so easily manage to turn the superficially banal into something deeper, interesting and …pleasant. In takes a special touch to turn nothing into something.
“Summer Time Clothes” seems more at home on Strawberry Jam or Feels, but nevertheless the asphalt vibe it brings to MPP, with its witty beats is more than satisfactory. I know about “Brothersport” for some time now, since when it leaked a few months back, but when I first listened to it, it simply blew me away! The whole experience the sample loops and layers create is simply exhilarating.
When I first sat down to write this, I had the intention of doing a track-by-track review, because I thought every track is special, tells a story and brings something new to the table, but then decided I should settle for something light. Why? Because, after a few dozen listens, I realized I won’t be able to do justice to MPP. This is an album that needs to be experienced to be understood. It’s not something you can really write up and make yourself an idea of how it sounds. After all, we’re talking about an avant-garde group here, and not just any group. They’re avant without the hypocritical bullshit we see today in most underground elitist bands. Animal Collective is just here for the music, to express all the weird and bogus things in life through sound.
Oh, and since avant and post-modernism came in discussion, it’s quite remarkable how accessible the album can be. It’s not something you’ll hear on mainstream radios, don’t get me wrong. That’d probably never happen with AC, but what I find really friendly about this album is how the band managed wrap up all the innovative and experimental music into a nice pop package. I only hope this will help the band get across more ears and festivals, and gain more recognition, beyond the niche and occasional Pitchfork praises.
I know this album may seem overrated, but, trust me, the hype is justified. Put on your headphones, let the record play and stop trying to like it. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up enjoying it and experience something totally special.
- In the Flowers
- My Girls
- Also Frightened
- Summertime Clothes
- Daily Routine
- Guys Eyes
- Lion in a Coma
- No More Runnin