Animal Collective

Merriweather Post Pavilion

Written by: TL on 20/01/2009 15:06:39

Taking a break from my current retrospective reviews, today I'm going to report to you about a more current release, namely Animal Collective's new "Merriweather Post Pavilion" which came out little over a week ago. I'll admit hands down that while Animal Collective have been the talk of the town in indie-country for years now, this is the first record of theirs that I lay my ears on, so don't expect any descriptions of turns taken or neglected in terms of their history of sound, because I don't know it. I'm afraid you're going to have to make do with a description of what "Merriweather Post Pavilion" sounds like and what I think of it as an album, and then I hope that's not too much of a disappointment.

On this album at least, there are a few bands that come to mind when listening, even though I'm not at all at home in this particularly electronic and psychedelic corner of indie rock. The slightly deranged but naive vocals for instance bear a similarity to that of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Bright Eyes and Modest Mouse, and those are also the bands I know, that resemble Animal Collective the most, and if you like their singing, you could very well be on your way to liking Animal Collective, simply because the vocals are the only constant guiding light on the journey through this circus of a record.

You see Animal Collective are not big on making a whole lot of sense. Soundwise the best way to describe them is as a tripped out electronic version of The Beatles or The Beach Boys, as you get the same weird vibe from their songs as you would've gotten from a song like "Good Vibrations" and as such, "The Merriweather Pavilion" seems dedicated to the exploration of such a soundscape. Only track 2, "My Girls" seem to have a recognizable catchy fix-point in its chorus, and after it fades from the speakers, one is left to follow the band's experimental whims for the remainder of the record - Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, because being on a cruise with Animal Collective doesn't ever seem to become boring, simply because their songs are much too joyfully messy to allow your attention any rest. It's kinda' like the sonic equivalent to tumbling around town with a kaleidoscope strapped in front of your eyes I'd imagine. Just don't expect to leave this record with a small handful of catchy choruses like you usually would because that's not likely to happen.

All in all, "Merriweather Post Pavilion" is a strong record for its will to experiment, for breaking with conventions and for retaining faith in being playful, but it's not quite going home with the very finest of grades from me anyway, simply because I feel that while a homogenous and consistently good album is commendable, it still can't compete with those that are littered with strongly recognizable highlights. That doesn't mean you shouldn't get it though, by all means do, especially if you like music that sounds like it was made by people who were on a lot of drugs!


Download: My Girls, Summertime Clothes, Lion In A Coma
For The Fans Of: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Bright Eyes, Modest Mouse, The Arcade Fire

Release Date 12.01.2009
Playground Music/Domino


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