“While there are now a plethora of copycats, Animal Collective are the only people to sound like Animal Collective…”
Animal Collective | Centipede Hz
This is the return of the mighty Animal Collective after three-and-a-half years without a proper LP, the breakthrough album Merriweather Post Pavilion, the moment all the plaudits they had been receiving up until then was suddenly matched by commercial appeal and wider recognition. Merriweather’s
The CD sleeve of Centipede Hz informs you that this time round the lyrics are printed, an odd treat considering that – and this writer might be alone in this – Animal Collective, with their weird, alternative soundscapes, are not a band whose lyrics are of great concern. For instance, the typically tricky yet occasionally catchy ‘Applesause’ includes the following: “when a farmer picks a good thing / then a kid he picks a good thing / then a chef she makes a good thing / then a mayor eats a good thing”. This band doesn’t write songs about break-ups, that just wouldn’t suit their lovable bonkers style. Listening to Centipede Hz it’s no unmissable to hear interesting similarities with ’80s-era Peter Gabriel, which is certainly not in any way an outlandish comparison. Ahem.
The single that preceded the album’s release, the modern-day sprightly psychedelia of ‘Today’s Supernatural’ is arguably the most convenient or ‘commercial’ thing on here, but it is by no means the best, while the more dreamy and contemplative, synth-strewn ‘New Tom Burnout’ and ‘Pulleys’ sound close to something from the solo Panda Bear record, as opposed to something off Merriweather. The production across much of this LP is more tightly knitted together, less airy and wide-eyed, not as wholly spangle-coloured when set against Merriweather Post Pavilion. Winners such as the always changeable ‘Amanita’, and ‘Monkey Riches’ contain mesmerising vocal harmonies that have the listener unsure of where exactly the tracks are heading. Backed by music of tribal-like, almost nasea inducing motion, they are what saves the LP in the end.