Review: Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion

Released: January 20, 2009

2966286733_1ed347e68f2Its that time of the year again, Animal Collective has released a new album and the indie kids are out in throngs championing it as album of the year (I like to wait at least a full month before I start throwing those kinds of words around) and a classic the likes of which has not been seen (or heard)since Radiohead released Kid A. These are undeniably grandioise endorsements and so, as I seem to do every year, I acquired the album in hopes of this time understanding what all the fuss is about.

It seems that with every release this strange trio becomes a little bit less strange and a little more structured with their song writing. Merriweather Post Pavilion is no exception to this observation. Another observation that becomes apparent upon the first time through this album is that Animal Collective have toned it down on the strange noises and chosen a more subtle electronic backdrop for the crooning of frontman Avey Tare. While the album seems to start off rather up beat and certainly ends in a more uptempo fashion, the album on the whole is fairly relaxed.

I have never been one to buy into the idea of a “headphone album,” but I fear I may have stumbled upon one with Animal Collective’s ninth release. It is however possible, that I was simply listening to the album on crappy speakers (I was), but I found that when I listened to this album through my earbuds I was able to note all of the intricacies that seperate this album from Animal Collective’s previous releases and seem to make all the difference between a decent indie album and a pretty great one. Lyrically this album could be better but the vocals are well executed and so I can’t really complain. Instrumentally, this album is fantastically interesting given proper concentration (and proper audio equipment). This album is definitely the best work that I have heard from Panda Bear and I can only hope that he continues to make Animal Collective’s music THIS good.

Bottom Line:

For the first time ever I am legitimately impressed by Animal Collective I am not going to lie though, this album is not one that most people are going to fall in love with after one or two listens. After eight times through this album I feel like I am just starting to fully comprehend it. Best album of 2009? Ask me in about 48 weeks. For now it should suffice to say that I like this album quite a bit and if it continues to grow on me I might be writing about it again come December.

–Ben

Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion: 8.6 out of 10.0


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~ by mediametric on January 29, 2009.

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