The opener, Peacebone is possibly their most direct song to date. Let me break it to you gently; I can understand all the words and I can hum the tune long after it has finished.
Animal Collective – Strawberry Jam
How in the name of all that's Holy and Righteous to give this release the praise it deserves?
Well, those first impressions are always the ones to go by, I find. On first listen to Strawberry Jam, I was struck by the sheer directness of the presentation, and the poppy nature of the song-writing. This is a band going for the jugular, make no doubt. Animal Collective have always had the knack of writing great pop songs; Feels was chock-full of them, but somehow they managed - rather in the same manner that good strip artists manage when removing their frippery - to leave their audience with only a vague memory of the essentials.
Now this musical "dance of the seven veils" has ended it seems. This time around, extraneous sound has been stripped away. The opener, Peacebone is possibly their most direct song to date. Let me break it to you gently; I can understand all the words and I can hum the tune long after it has finished.
There are places where the band return to leading their listener through the marsh lights; check out Chores, Fireworks or parts of Unsolved Mysteries... but the difference this time lies with tracks like For Reverend Green; what could have developed previously into a indeterminate faerie meandering is now harder, shinier and more structured, for all the sound effects.
As usual there are some moments that are just sublime; I'm convinced they are Beach Boys nuts... 1 is a drugged outtake off 20/20... Some bits are such fun to listen to; Winter Wonder Land is as close as any band is going to get to recording crazed gibbering pagan carol.
Strawberry Jam ends on a bang; Cuckoo Cuckoo is as musically schizophrenic as you could wish, replete with whining, screeches and a crushing chorus line. Last up we have a song called Derek. I won't beat about the bush, it's is plain weird, though affecting and eminently hum-able. Still... isn't that the point with Animal Collective records?
I love this LP and entreat you all to buy it.
Words: Richard Foster.