ANIMAL COLLECTIVE: Water Curses (Domino Recording Co.)


Posted on May 16th 2008 12:50 am

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Animal Collective: Water Curses

Water Curses
Domino Recording Co 2008
04 Tracks. 18mins05secs
Format: CDS/12″/Digital

The journey on which Animal Collective embarked some years ago has taken them from the thoroughly experimental to the surprisingly straightforward without ever going about it the easy way. In recent years, their records have become more melodic and song-based. Their last couple of inputs for Fat-Cat swapped the burning exuberance of early records for much more structured and elegant records. Last year’s Strawberry Jam album, the collective’s first full length release on Domino, showed that, although the band have polished their act, they remained as inventive with their music and have developed a truly unique sound.

Following the all-out pop effervescence of Strawberry Jam, Water Curses catches the band in a much reflective mood, their colourful songs stripped down, leaving vocals and melodies exposed. Three of the four tracks including on this EP were recorded during the Strawberry Jam sessions, but the mood is closer to the most contemplative moments of Feels or Sung Tongs. Water Curses, which opens, is perhaps the closest to the kaleidoscopic rhetoric of the album, especially in its mid section, but here, the guitars are more discreet, bubbling gently in the background, and the electronics, while still much present, only provide surface atmospherics, leaving Avey Tare’s vocals to jump around the hypnotic beat like a mountain torrent in spring. With Street Flash, Cobwebs and Seal Eyeing, Animal Collective drift further into peaceful mode, creating surprisingly tamed motifs over sparse arrangements. The former is almost entirely based on treated guitar and voice, with crowd noises populate the backdrop, stretching over nearly seven minutes of atmospheric pop. On Cobweb, the band rely primarily on light percussions to guide Tare’s vocals, with distorted guitars adding grit on the second half of the song. Of the four songs collected here, Seal Eyeing is the barest and curls around the desolate brushes of a lone piano.

Animal Collective have got into the habit of following albums with EPs that offer a glimpse into a different side of the band, and Water Curses is no different. Collecting some of the most reflective songs the band have released, this EP may surprise by its peaceful settings, but the music is as vibrant and essential as ever.


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