All hail Animal Collective! In the infancy of 2009 the most eagerly anticipated album has dropped. Well, sorta. It was leaked in late 2008 and many music blogs began fueling the fire by posting songs and writing about the album, thereby peaking interest.
I didn’t love Animal Collective’s previous release, “Strawberry Jam”, but was already hooked on them through repeated listens to their releases, “Sung Tongs” and “Feels”. At about the same time, I became the world’s biggest fan of Panda Bear’s 2007 release “Person Pitch”, and didn’t need any convincing anymore. I drank the Kool Aid. If Panda Bear was involved in the album, I was certainly listening to it.
Based on my impression of “Strawberry Jam”, I was not holding my breath for Animal Collective’s new release. In fact, after hearing the title Merriweather Post Pavilion (MPP), I assumed the album to be a live recording and dismissed it out of hand.
Fast forward to the first week of January. I am hit by the figurative 2×4 after listening to “My Girls” and finally pay attention to all the buzz about this new album. I venture over to the Domino Records web site and purchase the 2 LP 180 gram vinyl LP and 300 kbps MP3 download of the new album. They had me at “Hello”.
I have been listening to it for the past two weeks.
This album is a magnificent piece of music. It is an inventive, harmonic, psychedelic album and should reward AC with a slew of new fans. MPP will be their gateway to all things Animal Collective and their pre-existing catalog. Songs like “My Girls” and “Brother Sport” employ a fun, effervescent melody with a pulsating beat topped with honest and emotional lyrics. The layered vocal harmonies, the aural exuberance and the pastiche of tribal sounds are consistent with their hallmark sound. This is still very much an Animal Collective album, and quite simply their best. Other notable tracks are “Taste” and “No More Runnin”.