13 January 2009 (released)
08 March 2009
The sound of psychedelia –and all its influences is well and truly revealed in this new release by Animal Collective, a US band from Baltimore on America’s East Coast. They have been around for almost a decade and their spontaneous sound had alerted the attention of the late John Peel who was among the very first from the established media to play their music. Thereafter, they caught the likes of Steve Lamacq and the band managed to make inroads in the UK, though, as has been the case in their native country, they never shifted huge amounts of records or drew huge crowds, unlike a fellow artistes from this genre, like The Flaming Lips.
Their unique way of presenting experimental, psychedelic sounds perhaps explains why they have intrigued so many. The band’s four core members spent time in different parts of the world and their different experiences helped to bring about such interesting aspects. This time, Animal Collective do not feature Deakin who took a sabbatical, yet there is still a lot of unity and the band seem to be more focused than in previous albums. Most importantly, the band in its quest to fuse experimentalism and accessibility have somehow managed to strike an appropriate formula. At times heady and breezy, but most of the times, more obsure and dense, Merriweather Post Pavilion, nonetheless sports songs that sound so fresh and transcend psychedelic influences and all its ramifications. In The Flowers, the opening tune conveys such a feeling with sonic swathes and subdued harmonies that relate to the present day in as much as they relate to the original psychedelic wave of 1966-67 and the shoegazing era of 1990-91.
The echo, feedback and space effects on Bluish are simply superb and Guys Eyes provides more insights in oddball sounds and harmonies, which as such are capable of skewing the sound of The Beach Boys and yet remain so entertaining. Merriweather Post Pavilion is essentially a mesmerisation of melody and a collection of songs that give a lot of dignity to a genre which has never ceased to intrigue and entertain. Most importantly, it is not overbearing.