Animal Collective has been a mainstay in the indie music scene for
a long time now. Composed of David Portner (Avey Tare), Noah Lennox (Panda
Bear), Brian Weitz (Geologist), and Josh Dibb (Deakin), the group put out their
first album under the collective moniker in 2003. Since then the band has put
out a total of six albums, and grown in popularity between each album.
Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009) saw them at their peak, with radio play
across the nation, something new to a band as experimental as themselves.
Three years later the band has followed up their iconic album in
true Animal Collective style, by totally changing the recipe. The first major
shift in the album is in the inception of it, in that the band decided to come
together to write and record the songs in the same location, something that had
been replaced by the trading of song ideas through the internet due to the
displacement of many of the band members. The other shift was away from Panda
Bears vocals, putting the emphasis on Avey Tares brash, shouting vocals.
resulting album is one that is altogether raw. From the harsher vocals to Panda
Bear’s shift to a full drum kit, the dreamy floatation of Merriweather Post
Pavilion has been turned on its head. The albums lead single Applesauce serves
as a great indicator of the change. With it’s catchier, light chorus slowly
giving way to increasingly loud cymbal crashes, the similarities stand in stark
contrast to the new sound.
album still features much use of noise and some pretty interesting instrumental
choices, and earns the ‘freak folk’ tag many have ascribed to the band. Fans of
the artists’ solo work or the bands work pre-Merriweather Post Pavilion are
sure to enjoy, but the new vocals and noisy nature of the album could be a
deterrent to fans of the bands last album. Personally, the more I listen to it,
the better it gets.