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Animal Collective
Centipede Hz
Domino Records

It's time for another recording by the wild and wonderful (and colourful!), playful and whimsical boys (or; animals...?) of the Animal Collective. It's been three (and a half) years since their latest studio offering, Merriweather Post Pavilion - album of the year 2009. 'Off the beaten track' in most corners of the musical world. Well, 2010 saw ODDSAC; an experimental "visual album" (on film and DVD only) featuring music by the Collective, and "psychedelic visuals" directed by one Danny Perez. But that wasn't an ordinary album. Not that Animal Collective is an ordinary band. They're quite extraordinary, and something completely different.

Anyway, albums have happened since Merriweather...: In October 2010 Avey Tare's debut solo album, Down There saw the light of day. Some months later, in April 2011, Panda Bear's Tomboy was released. These records don't roam far off from the herd, meaning: it's not difficult to spot the relations to AniColl. However, as a band they - David Portner (Avey Tare), Noah Lennox (Panda Bear), Brian Weitz (Geologist), and Josh Dibb (Deakin) - collect all their crazy, creative, and cool ideas into one pot. And from this pot they pour their magic dreamscapes or rhythmic feasts. Or, rather, they throw their brew at their listeners - in their faces, into their ears.

Sometimes I think: Animal Collective somehow sound like XTC played backwards through some very special machinery (and not necessarily machines meant for musical purposes). Animal Collective are the sound of tivoli madness, of merry-go-rounds going wild, of outer-space circus freaks, of mystics and shamans gathering in some haunted woods. In short; Animal Collective invite you on-board their magic vessel for a 'wyld ryde'. A magical mystery tour, some 45 years after.

"Moonjock" kicks the wheel to start spinning, and from the very first seconds there is doubt about who's playing. The songs, 11 tracks all together, ooze of the Animal Collective trademark sound. "Applesauce" is another honey drenched quality pop mixture. "Wide Eyed" is a nice, more conventional song. But, when listening through Centipede Hz I'm starting to think; do I need another Animal Collective record? Isn't their pop music just a repetition of songs and sounds? Isn't this just another collection of the same kaleidoscopic, multicoloured dizzy-pop as they've done on every record over the last years? Then comes "Father Time", and later "Mercury Man", and they make me think twice. Yes, it's more of the same, but it's also very good stuff. Feel-weird done feel good, sort of. And, Animal Collective are masters of merging every possible genre into one. Their very own. "Pulleys" is a somewhat darker song, indeed exciting, before the rise of the thrilling, closing piece "Amanita" - a track full of life, despite its title; according to wikipedia, 'amanita' : 'The genus Amanita contains about 600 species of agarics including some of the most toxic known mushrooms found worldwide. This genus is responsible for approximately 95% of the fatalities resulting from mushroom poisoning, with the death cap accounting for about 50% on its own.'

And, yes, one last thing: think XTC the next time you spin Animal Collective.

See our archives for more Animal Collective reviews.

Copyright © 2012 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Animal Collective articles/reviews: Feels, FloriDada, Here Comes the Indian, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Spirit They're Gone Spirit They've Vanished / Danse Manatee, Strawberry Jam, Sung Tongs, The Fillmore, San Francisco, Sunday 5 March 2006.

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