Merriweather Post Pavilion – The Best Album Evaaa??

16Jan09

(Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino)

When discussing with a friend about what she thinks of the album, she said she heard one song and it was upbeat and fast tempoed. So I ask which song was it “My Girls” or “Summertime Clothes”, two of my favorites? She said no. But the fact that there are multiple upbeat songs on an Animal Collective means something has changed.

Animal Collective has been in the process of an evolution ever since I started to seriously listening to them in 2005 (even though they have been around for even longer). Merriweather Post Pavilion seems to be the pinnacle of their ever evolving sound. With the addition of  pop elements to the electro-psychedelic sound, Animal Collective  seemed to have taken a cue from the successful sound that AC member Panda Bear released on his 2007 release, Person Pitch. The same sound of psychedelia and congruent melodies was also heard on  2008 Water Curses.

The album starts with”In The Flowers” with  spooky sounds (including one that sounds like “we gotcha”, at least to me). The songs have messages, stories, themes all on their own unique, but fairly new, sound. “In The Flowers” starts as a quiet psychadelic song but changes at the mid-mark to a pumping beat and shrill electronics only to fall back to a sweeter sound but never losing the unique mix Animal Collective has mastered over many releases.

“My Girls” is the intended single. It flowed straight out of the overflow from “In The Flowers.” With almost round elctro-bleeps, it sings about something that is rare in today music. It’s about building a life for his family; his wife and daughter. The last I heard a song with a clear message to a family was Will Smith’s “Just the Two Of Us” and that wasn’t in the indie/experimental genre. With claps, and choral repeats and an actual chorus, this is the most pop song Animal Collective has created, even though it timed in at around 5 minutes.

However, the songs seem to have a pattern. Electric white noise turns to psycha-electo then would lead to a break where the pop elements come through (except on “Brothersport”which starts with fast psycha-electro).

“Summertime Clothes” uses strong imagery not to express places but feelings. It is relate-able through metaphors. The power of Animal Collective is that they can transport. Water Curses took me to an Atlantis world where things floated by in a surreal way. In this album, they htake you on a tour; to the dessert, to the ocean, to the jungle and even to a family room.

Repeating lines and creating choruses. Animal Collective brings thier even-developing sound into a semi-familiar format. Now, while all the tracks are at least 4 minutes long, they dreamily flow past. Overall, it’s an enjoyable album But best of the decade (As indie blogs have been calling it)? Favorite evaa? No.

Track Listing:

1. In The Flowers
2. My Girls*
3. Also Frightened
4. Summertime Clothes*
5. Daily Routine
6. Bluish
7. Guys Eyes
8. Taste
9. Lion In A Coma*
10. No More Runnin’
11. Brothersport*

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