Album: Centipede Hz
Animal Collective are a special band, special in all senses of the word. They have been critical darlings, yet beyond what you can find in writing, my instincts tell me that this band is not as big as they may seem, but they’re a lot more relevant than they seem too. Animal Collective have represented a place in the music world which is reserved for special artists, they are as ambitious about the experimental nature of their music, as they are with continuing the evolution of their ascent as the leaders of the indie music scene in America. With each new record that has come out they have garnered more and more praise which culminated in their last record Merriweather Post Pavilion. With their latest Centipede Hz, Animal Collective have created another incredible progressive album that see their sound become harder, faster, louder, and like always just as inaccessible.
Being inaccessible is the modus operandi for any experimental band, but for Animal Collective they are actually trying to write pop songs while being experimental which makes listening to their songs an interesting experience. The concept of the album is supposed to be a “psychedelic radio station” and it comes out like gang busters with the opener “Moonjock” which might be their heaviest song to date. Most people that I know of that like Animal Collective seem to say the same things about their albums, that there’s a couple of songs that they really like, but they tend to go off the rails by the end. So when “Today’s Supernatural” and “Rosie Oh” take the psychedelic roller coaster to another level it almost seems like they may have created a coup that goes against that thinking, but just like usual the album goes sideways. Going sideways is what Animal Collective does best, it’s why critics love them, because they are constantly surprising them with their choices, which as a consumer of art in great quantities, critics, including myself love artists that take risks. “Father Time” and “New Town Burnout” keep the spiral going, and each song brings a whole new interesting aural experience that you can’t help but devour every second of it. Yet at the same time, it’s a frustrating experience, because the songs have so much going on in them, it’s hard to really tell if I’m enjoying it.
Being a special band in the music world, Animal Collective have this stigma about them that makes you want to like them. We want Animal Collective to be the crazy geniuses that they are purported to be, but at the same time they will always be experimentalists, which means their place in the music world is to stretch its boundaries while at the same time vying for pop music supremacy. This comes in a time when modern music is full of indie acts all filling specific niches in the listener’s hearts. Bands are now more intimate with their fans than ever before, but Animal Collective are trying to do something very unique: Delight their fans by completely going off the off the grid. I figured I wouldn’t be one of those critics with the horn rimmed glasses hunched over their keyboard writing for an online magazine praising the band for doing such a thing, but as I look in the mirror, I realize that’s what I’ve become.
– Michael Unger
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