Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009

Animal Collective Fans Foam at the Mouth

By Evan Rytlewski
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Early praise for Animal Collective’s latest album, Merriweather Post Pavilion, has been piercing, unanimous and, often, hilariously over the top. Comb the entire Internet, and you won’t find a negative review of the thing (at least not yet). The closest you’ll come is Rolling Stone’s requisite 3-˝ star deferral. Spin offers a level-headed 4/5, but Uncut better captures the consensus with a 5/5 review decreeing that “Merriweather Post Pavilion doesn't just seem like one of the first great records of 2009, it feels like one of the landmark American albums of the century so far.” And bloggers? Well, they’ve never been known for restraint, but they’re outdoing themselves in their race to generate the most inflated accolades.

For those who haven’t heard the album—and are perhaps planning on checking it out at tonight’s listening party—here’s a spoiler: It’s an Animal Collective album, and like every other Animal Collective album, it’s sometimes rousing, sometimes plodding, often cloying and, overall, pretty good. This time out the group breaks open the digital urn and smokes up some digital ash, caking their tribal Pet Sounds re-imaginations in synthesizers and dance music aesthetics, and although the result is probably the best Animal Collective album yet (save, perhaps, for Feels, their most spectacular creation), it’s still an Animal Collective album, easier to admire than to love.

It is not, to be sure, “one of the landmark American albums of the century.”

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