First Listen Review: Animal Collective – “Painting With”

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The Good: Animal Collective’s new album is both their most pop-centered and experimental. There are songs like “FloriDada” and “Vertical” that repeat words or verses often enough for them to get stuck in one’s head more than any previous song released by the band. On the other end of the spectrum, the first half of this album has instrumentals behind the vocals that are less musical, and more concerned with creating a weird alternative dimension where the listener finds them trapped in a sound cyclone of eerie drones and squeaks. The latter songs of the LP are song of the most fast paced tracks the band has ever released.

The Bad: Sometimes the weirdness of the instrumentation makes the songs sound too mixed in with drugs for a sober listener. Unlike bands like Neon Indian or previous albums by this band that did this style well, this album at times can feel like the songs are too much trapped in a fun house. I agree with Pitchfork’s statement that this sounds like a theme park ride rather than a set of songs. The listener is taken up and down these wacky sounds, but there is nothing melodic or emotional or even cool sounding. Some of the bizarre noises being made are cliche instead. On the other hand, “Vertical” can be too repetitive at times with its lines about the hot parking lot. This album takes a few listens to get used to and even then, so many listens may only culminate in such a likening if the listener is a die hard Animal Collective fan.

Would I Listen Again: Yes

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