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Published: 2016/02/16
by Ryan Reed

Animal Collective
Painting With

For their 11th LP, Animal Collective aimed for their version of the Ramones. But how many classic punk albums feature samples of Golden Girls dialogue? Indeed, the psychpop wanderers have filtered that mantra through their own kooky lens: shorter tunes, less reverb, scaling back the ambient interludes for a set of revved-up LSD nursery rhymes. Working as a trio (without on-off guitarist Deakin, who consistently brings a visceral edge to their work), the group relies heavily on echoing, call-and-response vocals and analog synthesizers—a fizzier, more cartoonish take on their 2009 epic Merriweather Post Pavilion. Lead single “FloriDada” harnesses that approach for maximum immediacy, as Avey Tare and Panda Bear ping-pong their voices over pounding tom-toms into a squirmy, childlike hook. But the album’s hit-it-and-quit-it nature has its drawbacks: Some of the briefer, sparser cuts (“Vertical,” “The Burglars”) punch you and then flee the scene before you can sketch out a profile. As usual, Animal Collective intrigue most on Painting With when the songs probe into new territory, like the bass-heavy electronics of “Bagels in Kiev” or the abrupt sax and piano interjections on “Lying in the Grass.”

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