ANIMAL COLLECTIVE: Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino Recording Co.)


Posted on Jan 16th 2009 09:45 pm

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Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion

Merriweather Post Pavilion
Domino Recording Co. 2009
11 Tracks. 54mins42secs

It has been a long and tortuous journey that’s taken Animal Collective from their arid beginnings (Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished and Danse Manatee) to the hypnotic done-infused Here Comes The Indian and Campfire Songs. In 2004, they joined one of Britain’s finest imprints, Fat-Cat and adopted a more structured approach to their songs, culminating in the rather splendid Feels (2005) and Strawberry Jam, released in 2007 on Domino, a label conveniently strongly implanted on both sides of the Atlantic. But, as strong as these two records were, they were simple blueprints for the band’s latest effort, their ninth album in as many years.

As a formation, Animal Collective has always been pretty fluid. This time round, guitarist Deakin is totally absent from the record, leaving Avey Tare, Panda Bear and Geologist to accentuate the electronic touches of Strawberry Jam and deploy them prominently over the whole record. While both Avey Tare and Panda Bear relied heavily on electronics in the early days of the collective, guitars have since taken a much more dominant position. Here though, they have almost entirely disappeared, replaced with swirling arpeggios, razor-sharp grooves and dense atmospheric waves. Yet this is very much a classic Animal Collective sound that the three serve here. Wonderfully catchy and hypnotic melodies erupt from psychedelic formations, while driven rhythms provide strong structural bones to songs such as Summertime Clothes, Lion In A Coma or Brother Sport, while the slower Also Frightened or Daily Routine are carried by Aphex Twin-like abrasive grooves.

Elsewhere, the opening sequence of In The Flowers, for a moment, sounds strangely similar to the burbling beginning of Peacebone, but as spinning chords wrap around Avey Tare’s voice, it is a much more heavenly Animal Collective that transpires here, that is, until the song is brought back down to earth with a bang when the beat finally kicks in past the half way mark. Later on, Bluish and No More Runnin provide further moments of pure bliss, while the utterly excellent My Girls, Panda Bear’s odd to his wife and baby daughter, shimmers with electronics and lush harmonies. Here, Animal Collective sound like they’re ready to invade the club scene, providing it is found on a cloud way up above the ground.

Over the years, Animal Collective have recorded quite a few essential records, but none that had the panache and elegance of Merriweather Post Pavilion. Their sound has become more structured and adult, but they have lost nothing of their singularity or tamed their creativity. With each of their last three albums, they have refined their sound, constantly getting nearer to the masterpiece they had in them. With this album, they have delivered it!


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2 Responses to “ANIMAL COLLECTIVE: Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino Recording Co.)”

  1. […] 10 years in 20 records […]

  2. […] weirdoes almost overnight. Two years on, the surprisingly polished, electronic and iconic Merriweather Post Pavillion, and more particularly My Girls, probably the closest the band have come to have a mega hit on […]