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Animal Collective "Merriweather Post Pavillion"

In art there are buried treasures. In this context, not literally, but the creations that may be appreciated by some, but passed over by most until a later date. With little public airplay, it’s likely that Animal Collective has been overlooked by most people. Even before its official Jan 6th release, the band’s eighth album Merriweather Post Pavillion has been receiving high praise from critics alike, and has become 2009’s treasure waiting to be heard.

The Baltimore based band consists of Avey Tare (David Portner), Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), Deakin (Josh Dibbs), and Geologist (Brian Weltz), but as a collective, there is no formal band lineup, instead they choose to define themselves. Before their popular album Sung Tongs (2004), the band’s previous work had been critiqued as scattered and diverging. With Merriweather Post Pavillion, the band has created their most cohesive album, a concept of noise and emotion that flows connected.

It’s difficult to describe the group’s sound. Each song is a different combination of tribal noises, voices, and rhythms blended with an indescribable assortment of styles, or for you musicologists—it’s avant-garde. Lyrics are simple, like when Avey Tare sings “I really want to do just what my body wants to/ I really want to do just what my body needs to,” yet emotions and sounds are abruptly shortened and filled with futuristic-nerd synthesizers. The song “Summertime Clothes,” sounds like a blending of Beach Boys and Daft Punk, a flashback to beach parties with a contemporary sound.

This scattered simplicity is typical of Animal Collective’s past work, but Merriweather Post Pavillion’s is the band’s best balance of these simple noises that bubble underneath the water, later surfacing animated and vivid. Until you discover the album, one man’s treasure, is another man’s loss.

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