Published Feb 17, 2017The latest release from indie weirdo-heroes Animal Collective opens with the line, "Life is so French toast to me / If you wait too long, it gets black and weak," which sounds a bit ridiculous but also contains a syrupy metaphor for their musical hedonism. They play music that they find gratifying; if you decide to go along with them, it can be an ecstatic, communal experience. Watching this carnival pass, or overthinking it, is less thrilling, and also not the point.
On last year's under-appreciated Painting With, and this brand new companion piece, The Painters EP, Animal Collective exchange the watery ambience and noisy abrasion that coloured past successful albums for drier and more present percussion, shorter and more immediate songs, and a new fascination with hocketing vocals (Avey Tare and Panda Bear trade syllables in rapid-fire).
"Peacemaker" embodies all this, opening with a nice hip-hop-esque thump coupled with a trippy warble, almost evoking the beginning of the Notorious B.I.G.'s "Hypnotize" before the hocketed vocals come in. The chorus of "Kinda Bonkers" tugs at you in a child-like way, insisting that you come along.
The highlight is probably their cover of Motown hit "Jimmy Mack" (made famous by Martha & the Vandellas). The ecstatically pumping techno they imbue it with, and Avey Tare's earnest yelps towards the end ("I need your lovin', Jimmy!") make it clear why it's been a recurring part of their live show.
Animal Collective will probably never want to simply recreate any of their beloved past albums, nor are they likely to 'mature' in some conventional way, but earnest fans will be happy to follow this band's parade here — no matter how bonkers it gets. (Domino)