Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
Record Label: Domino Records
Release Date: January 6, 2009
I haven't yet grasped what's more exciting about Animal Collective's new album: the fact that it was released first on the vinyl/digital download medium or that the band has perfected their use of ambient noises and layered harmonies.
The band has returned with their ninth album - and who says perfection doesn't take time? They have dropped the outward (most accessible yet) joy that was 2007's Strawberry Jam and stretched the harmonies of the gem that was 2005's Feels into a slowed Pink Floyd adventure in the back of a surrealist's mind.
"In the Flowers" is a- ahem- pitch-perfect opener. Laced with keyboards and layered vocal harmonies, it sounds like a spaced out b-side to a Panda Bear record. "Layered" is the proper word throughout Animal Collective's career, in that they stack sounds both dissonant and harmonic for long periods. When the clapping comes in at the end of the opener, it's a preemptive applause to the music that encompasses Merriweather Post Pavilion.
"My Girls" will end up being a hit dance number that comes close to competing with Feel's single "Grass" for sheer fun and accessibility. "Summertime Clothes" clicks in with what sounds like a futuristic adding machine cranking in your ear, where the vocals roll in on a matching rhythmic wave. "Bluish" is the seasick ride on uppers and downers, while "No More Runnin" is an hour of relaxation in a wave pool at a day spa.
The tribal tracks "Guys Eyes" and "Lion in a Coma" are the stand out tracks. This is where the band harnesses its knack for turning the unconventional into the contemporary, and it's so damn beautiful and enthralling both instrumentally and vocally. The 54-minute album ends with "Brother Sport," a siren filled, Mario Party dance groove that ends Merriweather Post Pavilion in a Chinese New Year celebration of machines and upbeat musical laughter.
There is a lot of ambiance to the new Animal Collective album, but it's done in such a way that it will either soar over many heads, or strike a nerve with those looking for a fresh look at a pretty stale music scene. The band has been riding the line of noise and slick chorals for some time, and this is the peak thus far.
In a time with many great song writers, I would hope that we don't forget those "song creators." While many of the lyrics of Merriweather Post Pavilion land at the bottom of the list of "pros" of this album, when the opening track says, "If I could just leave my body for a night," this is what I would want to experience in that out of body vacation.
Thanks for reviewing this, I really love this album, I might say this is the album that made me listen to a lot of different music and truly appreciate it, I was so lost before this, personally I could care less about the ratings because this album won a spot in my music library and my life, already bought this and hopefully someone will truly love it as much as I do
Edit: I see you reviewed the Olivia Tremor Control record too, good job
Thanks man. I've seen a lot of people talking about not liking this album though, and I respect that a lot. I really didn't like Strawberry Jam, and I feel Animal Collective always switch it up, so I encourage everyone to have an open mind and give it a shot, if you don't like it...that's fully understandable.