New Animal Collective:: First Impressions
Earlier this week, the first three tracks from Animal Collective's forthcoming album, Strawberry Jam, made their way into the internet. I initially resisted sampling the tunes for want of my first exposure to the album being a listen in its entirety, but my curiosity eventually got the better of me. These opening three songs ("Peace Bone", "Unsolved Mysteries", and "Chores") undoubtedly provide valuable insight into the sound and feel of Strawberry Jam. As anyone familiar with the band knows, their sound is subject to significant change from album to album. Many consider Feels to be their masterpiece up to this point (I'm in this camp) and a radical stylistic departure from this album may have proven a disappointment. The sampler-heavy material the Collective have recently been playing live is from another potential album due after SJ and, consequently, only the most rabid AC fans had a concrete idea what to expect from this album. Judging from these first three tunes, Strawberry Jam does not seem too far removed from the, um, feel of Feels. These songs and Feels are sonically closer than perhaps any two Animal Collective releases have been up to this point. However, the prominent electric guitar and more traditional rock band set up employed on Feels's opening third is mostly scrapped in favor of dense electronics-aware compositions.
"Peace Bone" is probably the most accessible thing the Collective has done yet. The song features a bouncing rhythm, prominent vocal melody, and easily decipherable lyrics. Bubbling keyboard flourishes, touches of steel drums, and "Grass"-like clipped vocal screams flesh-out the tune. "Unsolved Mysteries" is the most similar to the band's previous album and methodically builds layer upon layer while intermittently featuring great vocal interplay between Panda Bear and Avey Tare. My personal favorite among the three new tunes is "Chores". The song's first half evolves and morphs continuously, but ever feels too busy or, if you'll excuse the pun, labored. But, it's on the more amorphous second half-- where the band settles into a relaxed, tribal chanting groove-- that things really get interesting. Only time will tell if the rest of Strawberry Jam lives up to the promise of these opening three tracks, but there is a distinct possibility that this will be the Collective's best album yet.
Strawberry Jam is due in September. Here's the tracklist:
01 "Peacebone" (5:13)
02 "Unsolved Mysteries" (4:25)
03 "Chores" (4:30)
04 "For Reverend Green" (6:34)
05 "Fireworks" (6:50)
06 "#1" (4:32)
07 "Winter Wonder Land" (2:44)
08 "Cuckoo Cuckoo" (5:42)
09 "Derek" (3:01)
Get new Animal Colletive MP3s: Here.
Labels: Animal Collective