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Published: 2009/01/20
by Brad Farberman

Merriweather Post Pavilion – Animal Collective


In 2003, four friends from Baltimore County, Maryland come together as Animal Collective. These friends are named Deakin, Geologist, Avey Tare and Panda Bear. They describe their music as “sonic free form electronic horror gospel hip hop soul pop madness.” And they hope that their music is “at times, totally pleasing, and at others completely scary and confusing.”

Wow. I had no idea that Maryland was this weird. But, in any event, the music of Animal Collective is cool, and pretty interesting from a conceptual standpoint. On Merriweather Post Pavilion, for instance, you can hear The Beatles, ambient music, folk, psychedelia, subtle electronica, and a lot of Brian Wilson. Which is quite a stew of sound and influences, even if it doesn’t live up to their “sonic free form electronic horror gospel hip hop soul pop madness” idea.

The infectious “My Girls” sounds like The Beach Boys hosting TRL at a hip hop club (somehow, this is a good thing!). “Daily Routine” is a darker selection, full of creepy organ runs and a robotic beat. “Guys Eyes” could be the soundtrack to Ringo Starr tripping in a forest (on his way to a Beach Boys concert). “Summertime Clothes” is, I suppose, the closest thing to a “normal” song here, as it includes some jubilant, indie vocals and a danceable beat.

Basically, though, as has already been stressed, Animal Collective do not fit into any one category. Or any two categories. They’re too weird to be pop, too rock to be electronic, too good to be indie, too this to be that. They’re their own thing. And that’s rare. Nice.

(Also, just so you know, this album was not recorded live at the Merriweather Post Pavilion, a famous outdoor venue in Maryland. Rather, it was recorded at a studio in Oxford, Mississippi. They just liked the name. Cool.)

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