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March 2, 2009 | by  | in Music | [ssba]

Animal Collective

Merriweather Post Pavillion

8 albums in, and arguably growing stronger with each successive release, Merriweather Post Pavilion delivers on the melodic promise and sonic warmth of 2008’s Strawberry Jam. After my first listen to Merriweather I thought to myself, “At last, an Animal Collective album that I truly enjoy from start to finish!” Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve liked AC for a while, and in theory I am a big believer in many of the things that they stand for: experimentalism, energy, harmony and diversity.

In practice I have found getting through any one of their albums in a single sitting to be a bit of a struggle. For some reason there is always a moment where they try something that is slightly too haywire for me. I lose attention and put on something else (maybe A Tribe Called Quest, or perhaps the Beta Band, I love those guys…). Still, I do come back to
AC regularly, especially to Sung Tongs, and this is because they create challenging albums that are bursting at the seams with ideas.

I’ve just never quite managed to love any of their albums like I love Kid A, or Emergency & I, or The Blueprint. Maybe I’m just too much of a sucker for a good pop hook? Maybe I’m not adventurous enough? Who knows? What I do know is that Merriweather has something their earlier work lacks. The songs are hooky, bouncy, energetic, and represent what can be done on the cutting sonic edge in 2009. The synths and samplers are propulsive, the harmonies are well executed, and the lyrics are both mature and thought provoking.

In short, this album packs everything that I love about pop music into one lovable little bundle. Still, you could probably say this about Feels, Sung Tongs or Strawberry Jam, so what have they done differently this time around? Well, the key lies in the fact that as well as being engaging and cohesive, AC have managed to strip Merriweather of those focusbreaker moments that would sometimes blunt the impact of their earlier work. In addition, Merriweather’s collection of songs is simply their strongest yet, so thank you Animal Collective, you’ve started 2009 with a thumping kick and an arpeggiated bang! Let’s hope everyone else can keep up.


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Comments (6)

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  1. Christopher Gilbert says:

    This is a good review because you are undoubtedly right in your conclusion about Merriweather’s quality. My only criticism is that you involve yourself in the piece too much, and don’t concentrate on making specific arguments what makes this album more enjoyable than Animal Collective’s earlier work. You obviously have good knowledge about the band, so it would be expected of you to use this knowledge to actually talk about what is happening in the album and how it should be received by the listener (context is very important).

    I don’t like to be critical of a reviewer, but I think if you take this advice your reviews can become really good.

  2. Superior Mind says:

    Oh hush Chris, Gonzo journalism is the way to go.

  3. Christopher Gilbert says:

    Gimme a journo with 7 years hard experience at Gonzo-law and another four at Getting-the-shit-kicked-out-of-you-for-inappropriate-hyperbole and then we’ll talk.

    I make perfect sense.

  4. Superior Mind says:

    As always Chris. :)

  5. owen says:

    I heard that Jasmine is so pale 7 out of 10 astronomers mistake her for the moon.

  6. Gohan_Aro_01 says:

    HAH! She looks like a heroin addict after a hard night on the crack rocks.

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