Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
Yeah I know; everyone’s favourite experimental/weird band. I’m sure the minds of the great and the good of the music press (as well as the legions of bloggers/net scribblers) will find new ways of reviewing this LP and telling us how far out this work is. Me, I’m reviewing it because I really like it. It might not be their strongest LP for me (Feels is still my absolute favourite) but it’s by a country mile their most accessible one. And their best produced.
You know; if ever there was a band who pedalled fabulous, wide-screen, straight-down-the-line Beach Boys pop, it’s Animal Collective. (Listen to Guys Eyes, its unmistakeable). The weirdness is in many ways a mask, especially when they record their work; and this LP doesn’t half remind me of the way Mercury Rev switched from being deliberately perverse bastards to being folksy pop merchants catering for Middle American sentiment. Still, I’m not complaining in Animal Collective’s case; there’s a pleasant Cocteau Twins/Treasure-style drugginess and spacey-ness to tracks like Bluish, In the Flowers and My Girls.
Stand out pop songs are the marvellous, bouncy Summertime Clothes (which dovetails brilliantly with the preceding track Also Frightened; itself an incredible re-working of Pet Sounds-style Brian Wilson sentiments). In fact, it’s hard to get past those first four tracks - such is their nagging pop-catchiness. Still, the aforementioned Guys Eyes and Brother Sport are markers that keep the LP bubbling along very nicely indeed.
Words: Richard Foster